Based in Nevada discount airline aha! stopped flying after its parent company, ExpressJet Airlines, filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would sell its assets.
ExpressJet said it faced lower-than-expected revenue as travel demand weakened with newer COVID-19 strains. He also said he was burdened with high costs, especially for jet fuel.
The Atlanta-area company filed for protection in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware on Tuesday.
Ah! flew to a dozen West Coast cities, including Redmond, Eugene and Medford, from its base in Reno, Nevada. A message posted on its website on Tuesday said the airline was unable to help stranded travelers arrange alternate travel and that customers booked on future flights should contact their credit card company to get a refund.
ExpressJet, based in the Atlanta area, was created in 1986 from several small commuter airlines. For many years he flew smaller aircraft as a regional carrier for Continental, JetBlue, American and United. In 2020, United Airlines pulled its planes from ExpressJet, wiping out the company’s revenue. ExpressJet reinvented itself in 2021 as a charter airline and operator of aha!, which meant air, hotel and adventure.
In the filing, a company executive said ExpressJet had ceased all operations, including charter flights, and had laid off most of its employees and would return its planes to leasing companies.
According to the bankruptcy filing, ExpressJet is owned by ManaAir LLC, a joint venture of KAir Enterprises and MNBS Associates.
The largest debt listed in the filing is a $10 million unsecured claim by the US Small Business Administration under the Payroll Protection Program the government launched to help businesses affected by the pandemic. He still owes $3.9 million for a pandemic relief loan from the Treasury Department.
ExpressJet said it has 1,300 pilots now on leave. He plans to try to sell the operating certificate he received from federal regulators.