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Wed, Jul 09, 2008

ExpressJet To End Branded Commercial Service In September

It Just Doesn't Pay To Fly 50-Seat Jets Right Now

With oil prices hovering just south of $150 per barrel, it doesn't make financial sense to operate small commercial jets on short routes. The operating costs can't be recouped on a per-seat basis, unless air fares are sky-high to the point passengers wouldn't pay them, anyway. Following in the footsteps of another regional that tried to fly under its own colors, Independence Air, this week ExpressJet Airlines announced it will suspend flying under its own livery in September.

As ANN reported Tuesday, ExpressJet mutually agreed to terminate its agreements with Delta Air Lines effective September 1. The airline has since announced it will cease its branded commercial passenger flight operations on September 2. The 39 aircraft currently used in these operations will be among those returned to the lessor no later than June 2009.

Shutting down ExpressJet's branded ops will leave the Houston-based airline with one major contract, flying a fleet of 205 aircraft as Continental Express to more than 150 destinations. The airline will also continue to serve charter customers with a fleet of 30 dedicated aircraft, through ExpressJet Corporate Aviation.

"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 CEO. "If we had any other choice, we would not take this difficult action. However, rising fuel prices has made the operation impossible to sustain."

Tickets on ExpressJet Airlines for travel prior to September 2 will not be affected; the airline plans to continue selling tickets for flights prior to that date. However, customers holding tickets for a flight after September 1, 2008 should contact ExpressJet Reservations at 888-958-XJET (9538) to request a refund.

FMI: www.expressjet.com

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