New Airline to Link Small, Midsize Cities

A new airline will try to solve a frustrating conundrum for thousands of travelers: how to fly nonstop between two small or medium-size cities, the Wall Street Journal reports. Within the next week, ExpressJet Holdings, a regional airline once wholly owned by Continental Airlines, is expected to launch a new carrier under its own name that will focus on point-to-point service-direct flights not using hub airports—using 50-seat jets. ExpressJet will go to 24 cities and fly only where there isn't currently any nonstop service-routes like San Diego to Omaha, Austin to Albuquerque, Sacramento to Tucson, and Kansas City to Raleigh and New Orleans to Jacksonville. Ontario, CA, near Los Angeles, will be the new airline's busiest city, with nonstop flights to 14 cities. Officials say exact schedules will be loaded in computer-reservation systems later this week. Flights will begin in April, with the full route network rolled out roughly west to east by May. Fares will run roughly $150 to $300 one way, about the same as the price structure today. It is trying to be a bit upscale to attract business travelers: ExpressJet plans to serve free snacks, sandwiches and cold pasta dishes, have its own segment-based frequent-flier program and sell tickets online, over the phone without added fees and through travel agents.

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