In an enigmatic update posted on its website, ExpressJet Airlines (EV, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) said it was planning to restart in "2021 and beyond" as an independent carrier serving second- and third-tier markets which lost connectivity due to COVID-related cuts.

"ExpressJet's plans for 2021 and beyond are to provide high-quality, reliable, efficient point-to-point flying to small and medium-sized cities that have lost service in recent years as a result of US airline industry consolidation and COVID-19 driven route reductions," the regional specialist said.

The airline suspended all operations on September 30, 2020, after United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) decided to consolidate all of its E145 operations at CommutAir (C5, Cleveland Hopkins). The Capacity Purchase Agreement with United was ExpressJet's sole commercial contract. Having lost the CPA and in light of a lack of forthcoming federal support, the carrier elected to shut down.

ExpressJet Airlines was founded as Continental Express (CO, Cleveland Hopkins) in 1987 and subsequently merged with ASA - Atlantic Southeast Airlines (EV, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) in 2011.

According to the ch-aviation fleets history module, at its peak in 2013, the airline operated around 430 regional jets. Although its fleet in early 2020 amounted to 127 aircraft, it dwindled as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated US carriers' regional network. As of September 30, 2020, its last day of operations, ExpressJet Airlines operated only thirty E145s.

In early 2020, before the pandemic struck, United decided to increase its CPA with ExpressJet Airlines at the expense of Trans States Airlines (AX, St. Louis Lambert Int'l), which lost its contract and subsequently closed in April.