Ten years since our history-making flight

Ten years ago, on February 12, 2009, Captain Rachelle Jones Kerr, First Officer Stephanie Grant and Flight Attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers landed in our nation’s history books as the first all-female, African-American crew to operate a commercial revenue flight – and it only happened by chance.

Rachelle, Robin and Diana had been flying with a first officer who left the trip early due to illness, and Stephanie was called to fill in.

“I could not believe it at the time,” said Stephanie, describing how she felt as she entered the aircraft and saw her fellow crew members. “We knew that this moment was special, but did not realize the full significance until weeks later when pictures from the flight began circulating on the internet.”

Together with the Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP), the crew confirmed that they were, indeed, the first all-female, African-American flight crew.

The four flew just one round-trip together, from Atlanta to Nashville, Tennessee, and back, but it was enough to permanently mark their place in history.

Today, Stephanie and Robin are based in ORD, Rachelle is a first officer for Delta Air Lines, and Diana has retired from the industry. Stephanie also now uses her experience to encourage other minority women to enter aviation through work with Sisters of the Skies, a non-profit mentorship organization. Although no longer coworkers, the four still stay in touch thanks to the chance bond they formed ten years ago.

“I am proud of our place in history and even more proud to share it with some of the greatest women that I know,” said Stephanie.

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E175 launch getting real! First pilots receive type ratings

ExpressJet’s E175 launch is getting real! Earlier this week, Lead Line Check Pilot – ORD Paul Weston and Captain and Manager of Ground Training Eric Carlson became ExpressJet’s first E175 type-rated pilots.

Paul and Eric are among the 20 initial cadre check pilots who will receive their type ratings and then conduct training for ExpressJet pilots awarded the E175.

“This is a proud moment for those of us in the initial cadre and for the entire company,” said Paul. “It means we’re another step closer to the E175 being part of the ExpressJet family.”

So, what can ExpressJet pilots expect when they get behind the controls of the E175?

“So far, we’ve found the E175 to be very pilot friendly, highly automated and equipped with all the bells and whistles that make it a good fit with our company’s safety culture.”

With a new type rating on their certificates, Paul and Eric will now return to developing the policies and procedures to support our new fleet.

“The type rating was the easy part,” joked Eric, comparing it to the volume of work that goes into launching a new fleet type. “It’s all worth it, though, for the excitement of a new aircraft.”

ExpressJet’s first E175 arrives in April. We will hire more than 600 pilots in 2019 to support the growth of our fleet and to account for pilots progressing through the United Career Path Program. It’s takeoff time!

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New E175-SCs, new ownership!

It was a big news day at ExpressJet – we announced the addition of brand new Embraer E175-SC aircraft to our fleet and the sale of our company!

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New E175s

Thanks to our proven track record as a top-performing and efficient flying partner, United Airlines awarded ExpressJet flying for 25 brand new Embraer E175-SC aircraft to fly for United Express. The E175-SC, which stands for Special Configuration, is a 70-seat configuration of the popular E175. Essentially, the same aircraft with a different seating arrangement.

We’ll start accepting deliveries in spring 2019 and should have the first passenger flights in the air by mid-summer. We’re still working through the flying network and base plan with United. Stay tuned for those details!

The E175-SCs are in addition to our 100+ E145s and 20 CRJ200s flying for United Express. Also worth noting, the 25 new E175-SCs we were awarded will replace other, older CRJ700 aircraft flying in the United Express system by other carriers.

New Ownership

We also announced the sale of ExpressJet to ManaAir, LLC, a company in which United Airlines will take a minority interest. The sale is expected to be complete in early 2019, at which point ExpressJet will become an independent company. As part of the agreement and, as previously shared with our team, we’ll transition to flying exclusively for United Express in early 2019.

The year ahead is shaping up to be an exciting one! We’ll update you with the latest details as we have them.

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