In this week’s developments, a new regional carrier will start flying later this month from Reno-Tahoe Airport to eight destinations in California, Oregon, and Washington State; pilot unions at American and Southwest suggest that holiday flight schedules could be affected if they don’t get exemptions from vaccine mandates; Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduces a bill requiring domestic passenger vaccinations or negative COVID tests; Singapore Airlines will bring back SFO-Hong Kong flights next month; international route news from JetBlue, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Delta, Icelandair, Air New Zealand and Qantas; Thailand will end quarantine requirement for vaccinated foreigners in November; American Airlines has a new code-sharing partner in India and United adds one in South Africa; European start-up Norse Atlantic wants to fly to Ontario, Calif.; Avelo adds Burbank-Tucson service; and the TSA reduces the cost of renewing PreCheck membership.
ExpressJet, a carrier that operated regional flights for United Airlines under the United Express banner until its contract expired last year, is putting on a new identity as aha!, based at Reno-Tahoe Airport. The new carrier’s strategy is to fly 50-seat Embraer ERJ145 jets to regional destinations that currently have no non-stop service into Reno. (What’s with the name? The company says aha! Is “the air-hotel-adventure leisure brand of ExpressJet Airlines.”) Its initial schedule, due to begin Oct. 24, includes three flights a week from Reno/Tahoe in each of eight markets: Fresno, Eureka/Arcata, Ontario, and Bakersfield, Calif.; Redmond/Bend, Eugene/Springfield and Medford/Ashland, Ore.; and Paco/Tri-Cities, Wash.