United Airlines said on Thursday it has decided to drop its contract with ExpressJet, and consolidate all of its outsourced flying on 50-seat planes with regional rival CommutAir.
The decision is a fatal blow to ExpressJet, which will begin to wind down its operations, according to a memo from Chief Executive Subodh Karnik to employees reviewed by Reuters.
Reuters reported United’s choice between the two carriers on Monday, after reviewing a union letter to ExpressJet pilots warning that the choice could have a “dramatic impact” on the future of ExpressJet.
In a statement on Thursday, United said CommutAir will become its sole operator of Embraer SA E145 50-seat planes, under a transition that will take a number of months.
Chicago-based United has minority stakes in both ExpressJet and CommutAir, which bring passengers from smaller markets to destinations that United itself serves on larger jets.
United was ExpressJet’s sole client, which like other global airlines is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated air travel deman
ExpressJet could not immediately be reached for comment.