ExpressJet and United Airlines have expanded an agreement they reached in late 2009 by 10 aircraft, resulting in ExpressJet placing a total of 32 aircraft into operation for United by May of 2010.

United in November 2009 announced its selection of ExpressJet after the legacy carrier issued a request for proposal for bids on certain contracts it had with regional operators expiring this year.

At the time, United awarded the operation of 22 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft to ExpressJet. But when the carriers announced the firming up of the deal on 17 February, they explained a further 10 jets were added to the arrangement.

The latest 10 aircraft added to the agreement will be operated in the United Express network from May through December in the ExpressJet livery. United has the option to renew operation of the aircraft for up to four additional periods of not less than 30 days per renewal period.

For the firs six aircraft, United must notify ExpressJet of its intention to renew by 15 June, and by 15 August for the remaining four ERJs. Other renewal conditions give United increased flexibility in utilising the aircraft.

Should United opt not to renew, ExpressJet says those 10 aircraft will be placed back into its charter operations. If the 10 exit United operations, three ERJs would be removed by October 15, followed by three in November and the remaining four in December.

One United Express contract expiring this year is an agreement covering 26 Bombardier CRJ200s operated by Mesa, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 10 January. Previously Mesa said it expects the CRJ wind down at United to be complete by 30 April.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news