One Month In: aha! Completes Initial Round Of Expansion

In October, the United States received its newest airline – aha! Coming out as the next venture for ExpressJet, after the end of its time as a regional airline for United Airlines, the carrier has opened eight new destinations in one month. It continues to plan for more destinations across the western United States.

aha!
aha! has celebrated a month in operation. Photo: aha!

aha! celebrates a month

On October 24th, aha!’s first flights operated from Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO). The carrier’s first service was to Pasco/Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) in Washington. This was followed in quick succession by seven other destinations over the next couple of weeks.

In one month, aha! has already surpassed 100 flights with an eye on underserved nonstop connectivity out of Reno. The carrier has thus far inaugurated flights to its initial eight destinations:

  1. Pasco/Tri-Cities (PSC) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays
  2. Bakersfield (BFL) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  3. Medford (MFR) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays
  4. Eugene (EUG) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  5. Ontario (ONT) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays
  6. Redmond (RDM) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  7. Eureka/Arcata (ACV) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays
  8. Fresno (FAT) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

CEO Subodh Karnik offered the following on the milestone:

“I want to extend my congratulations to the hardworking team at ExpressJet and our partners in each community who have worked tirelessly to achieve a successful launch. These first cities and flights are just the beginning of our plan to connect the Western U.S. with all the activities and attractions the Reno Tahoe region has to offer.”

One Month In: aha! Completes Initial Round Of Expansion
aha! will serve ten destinations by January 2022. Photo: aha!

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More growth is on the horizon

aha! has plans to fly to over 20 cities in the coming months from Reno. Two more destinations will come online soon. Nonstop service will start to Spokane International Airport (GEG) with service three times per week. Then, on January 3rd, 2022, Reno will be connected to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) three times per week.

aha! will be at least halfway there come January. The airline thus far has been targeting underserved nonstop service. Reno is a secondary city in the United States that does not have a lot of nonstop point-to-point service. The growth opportunities are there across the western United States.

If aha! decides to target some routes east of Reno, there is no shortage of opportunities. This includes large metro areas like Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Phoenix and some smaller destinations like Tucson, Boise, and more. Based on the airline’s current schedules, connections are not high on the priority list.

One Month In: aha! Completes Initial Round Of Expansion
ExpressJet has a lot of history with the Embraer ERJ145, but launching a new airline with a different model is never an easy task. Photo: ExpressJet

aha!’s model

aha! stands for “air, hotel, adventure.” It plans to start offering bundled vacation packages in partnership with Reno-area resorts, casinos, and attractions. Until then, it is primarily targeting pure air travelers who have made their own plans in the Reno area.

While there is demand between the destinations aha! serves from Reno, it will still have to do some demand stimulation. While its 50-seat Embraer ERJ145s are not much from a capacity standpoint, they come at higher costs than other aircraft, which puts a lot of financial pressure on the airline, though thus far, it seems to have a lot of faith in this model. Moving forward, these packages will be integral to help support aha!’s bottom lines and fill up its aircraft.

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