aha! takes on challenge of connecting smaller west coast airports with Reno Tahoe in Nevada
When ExpressJet Airlines (IATA code EV) lost its contract to operate feeder flights for United Airlines last September its future was uncertain. The carrier first began operating in 1987 and since then operated flights on behalf of American, Delta and United and was at one time the world’s largest operator of Embraer ERJ-145s. Now the airline has returned with a new brand, aha!, which stands for air, hotel and adventure. Initially, the airline will operate four 50-seat ERJ-145s from a base at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada and operate to eight destinations on the US West Coast.
First flight was on 24 October
The airline’s first route to Pasco/Tri-Cities in Washington launched on Sunday 24 October followed by Bakersfield in California on Monday 25 October. The remaining six routes will follow shortly to:
- Medford/Ashland in Oregon on 31 October
- Eugene/Springfield in Oregon on 1 November
- Ontario in California on 4 November
- Redmond/Bend in Oregon on 5 November
- Eureka/Arcata in California on 9 November
- Fresno/Yosemite in California on 10 November
All eight routes will be served 3-weekly to start with. The airline will operate four flights each day from Reno, Monday to Friday and on Sunday. There are no flights on Saturdays. None of these routes are served by any other carrier. In the coming months the network is expected to grow to more than 20 destinations.
According to the airline, the idea is that travellers will be able to ‘enjoy Reno-Tahoe's regional bounty—including exciting casino resorts and live entertainment, a diverse art and dining scene, and the world-class ski-golf-outdoor activities around Lake Tahoe, North America's largest alpine lake. Thrill seekers can also take in exciting shows and annual events including Burning Man, Hot August Nights, Reno Rodeo, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Barracuda Championship PGA TOUR event, National Championship Air Races, Great Reno Balloon Races, Lake Tahoe Snowfest, and more.
Airline number 10 for Reno
According to Cirium Data and Analytics schedule information, Reno will now be home to 10 airlines in November. The leading carriers by weekly frequency are Southwest (118), American (74), United (62), Alaska Airlines (55), Delta (48) and aha! (24). The other carriers present are Allegiant (serving Las Vegas), JetBlue (serving Los Angeles), Frontier (serving Las Vegas) and Volaris (serving Guadalajara).
The leading destinations (by flights) from Reno during the week commencing 8 November will be Los Angeles (86), Las Vegas (50), Phoenix PHX (42), Denver (37), Seattle-Tacoma (30), Salt Lake City (27), San Francisco (25) and Dallas/Fort Worth (21).
What they said
Shaun Carey, Chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said: “We are excited to announce aha! and its innovative new air service at RNO. They are connecting Northern Nevada to new markets from across the west that will bring new visitors to our spectacular region.”
Tim Sieber, Head of ExpressJet's aha! business unit, said: “The Reno-Tahoe region offers travellers a wide range of fun and unique experiences. With the time savings of non-stop flights and packages with great deals at a curated collection of the best hotels and gaming resorts in the region coming soon, we're giving travellers everything they need to customize their own great, short vacation.”
Subodh Karnik, CEO of ExpressJet, commented: “As ExpressJet began developing post-COVID flying opportunities that fit our history of serving smaller communities with regional aircraft, we realized that the old adage of 'getting there is half the fun' has become 'just getting there burns up half the vacation'. With so many under-served communities and the allure of Reno-Tahoe, the aha! brand model practically leapt at us.”