ExpressJet ceasing branded flights Sept. 2
Houston-based air carrier ExpressJet said Tuesday it would cease its branded passenger flight operations on Sept. 2.
Citing the rising cost of fuel for air carriers and a weak economy, the firm said it would also end its flights operated for Delta Airlines as of Sept. 1, but continue to operate the Continental Express commuter airline.
'On behalf of everyone at ExpressJet Airlines, I would like to express our gratitude to the communities that provided such a warm welcome and were always supportive of our branded service,' said Jim Ream, president and chief executive officer. 'If we had any other choice, we would not take this difficult action. However, rising fuel prices has made the operation impossible to sustain.'
ExpressJet said that 39 of the targeted aircraft, 16 branded planes and 23 Delta Connection planes, will be returned to the lessor no later than June 2009. Officials said the carrier will continue to operate 205 aircraft under the Continental Express name and 30 additional charter aircraft under the ExpressJet Corporate Aviation name.
ExpressJet began the branded flights, using Ontario Airport near Los Angeles as a hub, in April 2007 with service to 24 cities in the Southwest, the Midwest and on the West Coast. Two months later, the carrier began the Delta Connection partnership using Los Angeles International Airport as a hub. The cuts will also impact California airports in Fresno, Long Beach, Sacramento and San Diego.