United Airlines Holdings has divested its 49.9% stake in ManaAir LLC, the now-dissolved parent company of regional carrier ExpressJet Airlines (EV, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson), sources have told Bloomberg News.

The United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) parent had retained its shareholding even after it decided in late July 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, to select CommutAir (C5, Cleveland Hopkins) over ExpressJet to be the sole E145 regional operator of its United Express brand, effectively sounding the company’s death knell.

Last October, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby signalled the legacy carrier’s intention to sell its 49.9% stake in ExpressJet.

ExpressJet Airlines still possesses an air operator’s certificate (AOC), and last year it launched a new brand, aha! (United States of America), as a low-cost carrier flying out of Reno/Tahoe, Nevada. The name of the brand is derived from the company’s intention to 'bundle' “air, hotel, adventure” package trips.

At the time that United ended its contract with ExpressJet, the regional carrier operated a fleet of fifty EMB-145LRs, fifty-eight EMB-145XRs, and thirteen E175s for United Express. At one time, it operated more than 400 aircraft. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced and ch-aviation capacities modules, ExpressJet currently operates just four E145LRs, all of them on behalf of aha!, on nine leisure-focused routes in the western United States, to Eugene, Ontario, Pasco, and Spokane Int'l (all 3x weekly), and to Bakersfield, Fresno Yosemite, Medford, Palm Springs Int'l, and Redmond (all 2x weekly).

Two anonymous sources told Bloomberg that ManaAir was dissolved towards the end of May as part of an agreement with United Airlines, which has not disclosed the details of the transaction. ManaAir was founded as a United joint-venture in late 2018 when it acquired ExpressJet from SkyWest Airlines (OO, Salt Lake City) for USD70 million in cash and the assumption of its debt.

ExpressJet Airlines did not immediately respond to ch-aviation’s request for comment and United Airlines declined to comment.