ExpressJet Airlines, a regional airline that has resumed operations after losing a key contract during the pandemic in 2020, has hired Moore Colson, an accounting and financial advisory firm, to help it fix its financial and labor problems.
The carrier is looking to cut its debt load and renegotiate contracts with pilots, according to people with knowledge of the situation. A representative for ExpressJet declined to comment. Moore Colson didn’t respond to request for comment.
ExpressJet suspended operations in 2020 when it lost a contract to fly for United Airlines Holdings Inc. United had owned almost half of the regional carrier, but was looking to cut costs and improve profits in its business serving smaller cities.
In the second half of 2021, ExpressJet launched Aha!, a low-cost brand focused on luring leisure travelers to the Reno-Lake Tahoe area for weekend trips.
Earlier this year, United divested its 49.9% stake in ManaAir LLC, the parent company of ExpressJet. ExpressJet returned 130 aircraft to United as part of a wind-down of its operations.
ManaAir had been formed in 2018 by United and Chief Executive Officer Subodh Karnik to acquire ExpressJet from SkyWest Inc. for $70 million and the assumption of debt. The original plan for the joint venture was to move some of United’s larger 76-seat Embraer regional jets to the carrier.
Any efforts for ExpressJet to fix itself comes at a difficult time for airlines in general. Wages and fuel prices are broadly rising, resulting in higher costs for tickets. The labor pressure is most acute at regional airlines, where many pilots have been picked off by larger carriers, leaving smaller aircraft idle and less flights dedicated to shorter routes.
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