ExpressJet Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday and shut down its operations. Just days after losing their jobs, pilots from the recently defunct airline have received conditional job offers from Piedmont Airlines.
Piedmont opens the door for ExpressJet pilots
Earlier today, Piedmont announced “that it will provide employment relief to seniority list pilots” from ExpressJet. Without even interviewing for the role, those who previously piloted for ExpressJet have received conditional job offers. This offer comes from a provision in Piedmont’s ALPA-negotiated contract, which “allows the company to offer pilots at carriers deemed“ distressed ”a haven for employment, including longevity-based pay and bonuses.” Piedmont’s Director of Operations, Matt Kernan, said,
“Piedmont added distressed carrier language to its pilot contract last year before anticipating the fragility of some regional carriers after the pandemic. No one wants to see an airline fail, ever. We know that ExpressJet pilots are well-trained aviators who know the Embraer 145 , and we are very pleased to make this transition as easy as possible for them. “
Early this month, Piedmont and Envoy Air announced a shuffling of some of their fleets, with Piedmont adding 15 Embraer ERJ145 aircraft to its fleet this summer. Matt Kernan added,
“This is an opportunity to get these pilots significant pay and bonus increases, expedited job offers and in the process, help Piedmont grow its fleet.”
On Monday, Atlanta-based ExpressJet Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company’s recent years were troubled, with ownership and operations changing quite a few times. The airline operated the world’s largest fleet of ERJ 145 aircraft at one point, but the COVID-19 pandemic proved significantly difficult. In 2018, United Airlines acquired ExpressJet from SkyWest Airlines, but in 2020, it ended its flights with the airline because of financial cuts due to the pandemic. ExpressJet shut down operations for about one year before resuming under the name Aha !, and for the past six months, operated out of Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
aha! operated out of the Reno Tahoe International Airport before ceasing operations. Map: aha!
ExpressJet was no stranger to being shuffled around. In 1987, after Continental Airlines acquired a few commuter airlines, ExpressJet began commercial operations. Eighteen years later, Continental decided to reduce the ExpressJet fleet, and ExpressJet began to operate independently. From that point forward, the airline changed operations numerous times but could not continue operating independently after shutting down a large majority of its services in 2008. From 2009, ExpressJet went back and forth as a United Express Carrier until the latest cut of ties in 2020 .
Late last year, ExpressJet commenced operations as Aha! but the airline could not stay in business, which led to Monday’s Chapter 11 filing. ExpressJet’s CEO explained the decision,
“A combination of conditions led us to this decision. Despite the valiant efforts of our employees to overcome challenges, and despite great support by our cities and airports – especially Reno-Tahoe and the community- we arrived at a point where termination of operations was in the best interest of our stakeholders. “- Subodh Karnik, ExpressJet CEO
Earlier this week, the Simple Flying team covered the news of Aha! ceasing its operations, and a thorough report can be found here.