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United Airlines JV reveals who will soon run ExpressJet

United Airlines finally decided to reveal who will run regional carrier ExpressJet Airlines in the wake of the announcement earlier this week that a new joint venture called ManaAir LLC has acquired ExpressJet from parent St. George, Utah-based SkyWest for $70 million in cash plus assumption of liabilities.

United has indicated it is a significant minority investor in ManaAir, which said Friday it will name Subodh Karnik as president and CEO of ExpressJet Airlines once the acquisition is complete in early 2019, pending financial and government regulatory approvals.

Karnik will join ExpressJet with more than 30 years of airline operations, finance, marketing and planning experience, including senior-level positions at Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), Continental Airlines (which merged with United) and Northwest Airlines (which merged with Delta). Karnik also was CEO of the parent of ATA, World and North American Airlines, in addition to experience as an aviation consultant on his resume.

Karnik said of his new role with ExpressJet: “I am looking forward to joining the highly-dedicated professionals of ExpressJet as the airline begins its journey as an exclusive United Express flying partner. ExpressJet’s rich history and solid foundation, the launch of the Embraer E-175SC fleet and the renewed commitment and minority investment by United make for a great future.”

ExpressJet will begin taking delivery of some 25 E-175 specially-configured jets in the spring of 2019. The new jets will have a large Economy Plus section with roomier seating.

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