ExpressJet Airlines began the New Year with a new outlook – growth – and plenty of it. The airline, which was recently acquired by ManaAir, LLC, a minority-owned affiliate of United Airlines, is upgrading its fleet with new Embraer E175s and hiring more than 600 pilots in 2019.
Adding 25 New Embraer E175 Aircraft
ExpressJet’s first announcement of growth came with the award of 25 new Embraer E175 aircraft to fly for United Express. The aircraft will begin arriving fresh from the assembly line in April, and deliveries will continue into 2020.
In preparation, ExpressJet began E175 pilot training in December and its first pilots received their type ratings in January. The airline also recently announced Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) as its first crew base for the E175 fleet and says a second base announcement is on the way.
In addition to the growing E175 fleet, ExpressJet will also exercise options to expand its existing fleet of E145 aircraft with United Express.
Hiring 600+ Pilots to Support Growth
In January, ExpressJet announced that it will need to hire more than 600 pilots to support its fleet growth and to account for pilots progressing to United Airlines through the United Pilot Career Path Program.
To support the increased hiring, ExpressJet is now conducting new-hire classes twice per month at its Houston Training Center.
“We’ve had such strong interest that we have expanded interview hours and will accommodate candidates on their schedule,” said Vice President of Flight Operations Greg Wooley. “That means day, evening or night, we’re here to make your interview happen, so that you can get in class and flying.”
Wooley says that after a quick interview process, candidates can be placed in class within days and expect to complete training and fly the line within three months. ExpressJet training is paid and provides single-occupancy hotel accommodations.
New Pilot Contract and Bonus Complete the Package
If the growth plans were not enough, ExpressJet pilots now enjoy some of the best compensation among regional airlines. Last fall, its pilots voted in a new contract that built upon its already top-tier work rules by adding higher pay rates as well as a new earned quarterly override (EQO). The EQO adds an additional $10,000 per year for first officers.
To further sweeten the offer, ExpressJet recently upped its new hire bonus to $22,000, with an additional $5,000 for pilots with an eligible type rating.
“Between pay, work rules, growth and the pathway to United, ExpressJet is now the regional airline to be at,” said Wooley. “The pilots we’re hiring today can clear in the ballpark of $71,100 in their first year.”
Growth Beyond 2019
What does ExpressJet have in store beyond 2019? According to its chairman and CEO, Subodh Karnik, the answer is more growth.
“We are only getting started with the 25 E175s and 600 pilots,” he said. “Our goal is for ExpressJet to be the undisputed go-to United Express partner.” Pilots interested in joining ExpressJet should visit expressjet.com/pilots or apply on Airline Apps. ACN