ExpressJet began shopping in earnest for a new mainline partner last month as Continental Airlines prepared to ask for bids from other regional airlines to fly roughly a quarter of the Continental Express network. Continental formally notified ExpressJet that it planned to withdraw 69 of the 274 Embraer regional jets from their capacity purchase agreement after the sides failed to reach terms on a new service contract.
Houston-based ExpressJet Holdings has taken a $700,000, 49-percent share in JetX Aviation, a new regional start-up that plans to operate as ExpressJet Europe and possibly use some of the Embraer ERJ 135/145s scheduled for release by Continental Airlines starting next January. Continental has said it will not require 69 of the 274 regional jets now flown by ExpressJet.
Continental Airlines last month accepted a bid from Indianapolis-based Chautauqua Airlines to fly at least 69 regional jets slated for withdrawal from its capacity purchase agreement with long-time Continental Express partner ExpressJet. Continental plans to start the transition in January and finish by the end of next summer.
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