Delta’s longtime regional and commuter partner Expressjet is getting dumped. The airline, which at one point was called Atlantic Southeast Airlines, is going to shutter operations on behalf of Delta Connection. The airline is the largest regional partner at Atlanta airport for Delta. Expressjet operated over 50 aircraft for Delta at Atlanta. The fleet of 28 CRJ-900 and 33 CRJ-700 will be partially transferred to Delta. Delta will them hand them over to Endeavor Air, which is an airline they control.
What Pushed Delta to Do This
Delta decided to terminate its contract with Expressjet early because of their push for on-time arrivals. Expressjet has long been underperforming when it comes to on-time departures and arrivals. With Delta’s strong push to improve that performance metric, they felt that Expressjet was weighing them down. Once the airline parts ways with Expressjet, they will have more control of operations at Endeavor. As a wholly owned subsidiary, Delta can dictate policy and synergie further with integration. Their original contract was meant to expire in 2019.
What will Expressjet do Now?
Expressjet doesn’t need to worry so much. Expressjet signed a contract extension with United this year. The extension would run from 2018 until 2022. This will allow the airline to fly under the name of United Express. Also, Expressjet signed an agreement with American Airlines to add 8 more CRJ-700s to the fleet assigned to American Eagle. Skywest Airlines, Expressjet’s parent company, is still very committed to the airline’s success.
I think this is honestly a win for Delta. Since Delta financed most of the aircraft operated by Expressjet, this will allow them to easily transfer them to Endeavor. Once this is done, Delta will push to improve Delta Connection’s on time performance. Expressjet, although they lost Delta, still has a strong partnership with United. I can only expect their partnership with American to strengthen. As more airlines dump gas-guzzling 50 seat aircraft for larger, more efficient planes, Expressjet is poised to benefit.
What do you think? Will Delta be able to improve Delta Connection’s on-time performance with this move? Will Expressjet expand agreements with American as a result? Let us know!
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