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Eugene Airport loses an airline and a destination

Sign for Eugene Airport
Brian Bull
Eugene Airport, pictured in this file photo, will no longer have non-stop flights to Reno with the shutdown of aha! Airlines.

Air travelers in Eugene have fewer options now that an airline serving the region has abruptly shut down.

It was called aha! Airlines and it flew nonstop between Reno, Nevada and 11 western cities, including Eugene, Redmond, and Medford in Oregon. Most destinations were served by aha! just two or three days a week on small 50-seat jets.

The airline announced it had filed for bankruptcy Tuesday and was ceasing operations, effective immediately.

"We apologize for the inconvenience," the airline stated on its website, before explaining that no alternate transportation would be provided for stranded passengers. It urged ticket holders to seek a refund by disputing the credit card charge.

While its parent company, ExpressJet, had been in the airline business for decades, the aha! brand was relatively new, having started operations just last fall. The company blamed fuel prices and lower-than-expected ticket revenue as the reason for its shutdown.

“A combination of conditions led us to this decision,” said Subodh Karnik, Chairman and CEO of ExpressJet in a press release. “Despite the valiant efforts of our employees to overcome challenges...we arrived at a point where termination of operations was in the best interest of our stakeholders."

The flight was the only non-stop option between Eugene and Reno.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”