EXPRESSJET ADDS ONTARIO-RENO LEG; Nonstop: The Houston Airline's Flights Should Cost $85 To $132 Each Way, A Spokeswoman Said.

ExpressJet Airlines will add a flight between LA/Ontario International Airport and Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Nov.11, a sign that officials with the new airline that struggled financially during its launch has confidence in the Inland airport.

The Houston-based airline arrived in Ontario in April, connecting the airport to 14 other regional airports that lacked nonstop flights. The company's flights avoid traffic-laden hubs by offering direct service to smaller metropolitan destinations.

Jim Ream, chief executive officer of ExpressJet, said he was pleased with the airline's Inland performance. He was in Ontario two weeks ago for a management retreat.

Analysts were disappointed with the airline's second-quarter earnings that showed its parent company, ExpressJet Holdings Inc., had lost $26.4 million. The airline earned 14.1cents for every average fare of $108.71. August appeared to be kinder.

Out of 298 million miles flown, passengers flying ExpressJet airlines paid for 63.8 percent of the miles traveled, according to a company report. By comparison, the airline's passenger load factor in the second quarter of the year was 39 percent.

ExpressJet flights between Ontario and Reno should cost $85 to $132 each way, said airline spokeswoman Kristy Nicholas. The average flight time is about 11/2 hours.

On Nov. 11, the day ExpressJet's flights start, a Southwest flight with a one-stop between the two destination costs $85 to $138. The airline's Web site shows travel time for a one-way flight ranging from 2 hours 40 minutes to four hours.

Tom Medland, director of air service development for Reno-Tahoe International Airport, said about 95,000 passengers fly annually between Ontario and his airport, which has about 5million total passengers each year.

The once daily nonstop flight is scheduled to leave Ontario at 7 a.m. and arrive in Reno at 8:30 a.m. before turning around and departing Reno at 7:20 p.m. to arrive in Ontario at 8:45 p.m.

LA /Ontario International Airport had 685,500 domestic passengers in August, up 9.87 percent compared to a year ago, according to airport statistics. But the number of passengers increased from 58,295 in July to 61,810 in August.

Based on market-share figures that list the number of revenue-related operations by airline, generally each time a plane takes off or lands, ExpressJet's 50-seat planes have been half full since August.

The airline will start promoting itself more in Riverside and the Inland region this month to build better brand awareness.

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AIR TRAFFIC : ExpressJet, which brought 14 nonstop destinations to Ontario International Airport in April, is adding a 15th, to Reno-Lake Tahoe International Airport.

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