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Regional carrier based in Reno, Nevada Aha! Airline files for bankruptcy

When Idaho Falls passengers flew with Aha! The airlines, they couldn’t have imagined that it would be gone in a week or two.

But the West Coast airline declared bankruptcy just 12 days after flights began from Idaho Falls Regional Airport to its hub at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

“Since August 22, 2022, Aha! Airlines, powered by ExpressJet, filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code and ceased all flight operations. We regret that a combination of market and economic conditions led us to take this action,” the airline’s website note reads.

Local officials said they remained hopeful the hiatus would only be temporary.

“We have been informed today of the immediate cessation of flights operated by Aha! in all the markets they serve, including Idaho Falls. We hope that a successful restructuring will mean Aha! is able to offer nonstop service to the IDA region in the future,” Idaho Falls Regional Airport Told in a statement.

The carrier was expected to expand service to the Boise airport next week, according to the news website.

ExpressJet was previously affiliated with United Airlines, but the largest carrier closed flights in 2020. ExpressJet would resume service in 2021, but United has not resumed its regional flight agreement with ExpressJet.

United Airlines sold its stake in ExpressJet to ManaAir in June. ExpressJet operated on the West Coast under the Aha! Brand of airlines until declaration of bankruptcy, according CNN Business.

“A combination of conditions led us to this decision,” ExpressJet CEO Subodh Karnik said in a press release. “Despite the valiant efforts of our employees to overcome the challenges…we have reached a point where halting operations is in the best interests of our stakeholders.”

The company cited the unavailability of new planes for its fleet, fuel costs and a lack of hotel deals as some of the factors that led it to declare bankruptcy.