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Tue, Jul 08, 2008

Delta To Part Ways With ExpressJet In September

Regional Airline Will Keep Its 23 Planes

Delta Air Lines announced this week it will sever its partnership with regional carrier ExpressJet, effective September 1.

ExpressJet now operates Delta Connection runs out of Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, reports The Houston Business Journal. Most of those routes will go to other Delta Connection airlines such as ASA, and Delta's own Comair subsidiary.

The Houston-based regional airline will hold onto the 23 Embraer ERJ-145s it operates under the Delta banner. It's not yet know whether ExpressJet will use those planes for its own branded service, or to support its regional contracts with Continental Airlines.

ExpressJet CEO Jim Ream put a positive spin on the news, noting its Delta service wasn't a moneymaker. "With the losses we were experiencing from our Delta pro-rate flying combined with our ability to return aircraft to the lessor, this termination of service is in the best interest of our company," Ream said.

As ANN reported last month, ExpressJet recently reached a new contract with Continental, its largest customer, to fly RJs for that carrier for the next seven years. Though it locks in a minimum of 190 regional jets operating for Continental each year -- providing ExpressJet with a stable customer base -- it also locked in service charges lower than what Continental had paid ExpressJet previously.

FMI: www.delta.com, www.expressjet.com

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