Atlantic Southeast, ExpressJet closer to finalizing merger

ATLANTA — The Federal Aviation Administration last week gave Atlanta-based Atlantic Southeast Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiary, ExpressJet Airlines, approval for a single operating certificate.

The airlines said this was the final regulatory hurdle before the two airlines finalize their merger.

“I am extremely proud of the talented aviation professionals across our company, who have worked so hard for the past year to combine our processes and procedures to achieve this milestone,” Brad Holt, president & COO of Atlantic Southeast and ExpressJet airlines said in a news release. “As we begin operating as a single carrier, we will continue focusing on delivering safe, reliable service while improving our cost competitiveness.”

Atlantic Southeast is a subsidiary of St. George, Utah-based SkyWest. ExpressJet operates flights as Continental Express; Atlantic Southeast operates flights as Delta Connection and United Express.

“We are extremely thankful for the work and dedication our people have put into this process,” Brad Rich, president of SkyWest, said in a news release. “Achieving this milestone allows us to continue our strategic integration and cost-reduction plans that we believe will position us to offer an exceptional product to our passengers and major partners and will create additional value for our shareholders.”

The merged airline will keep the ExpressJet name when it starts combined operations on Dec. 31. With more than 400 aircraft and 2,350 daily flights, the carrier will be the world’s largest regional airline, according to a news release.

SkyWest announced its intention to buy Houston-based ExpressJet in August 2010.

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