A US federal bankruptcy judge in New York has approved the reorganization plan of Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings, paving the way for Republic to exit Chapter 11 protection.

The regional airline operator said it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 by the end of April.

The company entered Chapter 11 in February 2016, saying it was the only way it could renegotiate contracts with major US airlines for which it operates regional flights. The renegotiations were necessary in part because of a “nationwide pilot shortage,” president and CEO Bryan Bedford said.

During the bankruptcy reorganization process, Republic has renegotiated and extended capacity purchase agreements with Dallas/Fort Worth-based American Airlines, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Chicago-based United Airlines. It also trimmed flying by about 100 flights daily from the 1,000 flights per day it operated at the start of 2016. It additionally removed 50-seat jets from its fleet; it now operates a fleet of 170 Embraer E170/175 aircraft.

The two airlines that operated as Republic subsidiaries prior to the company’s Chapter 11 filing—Republic Airlines and Shuttle America—will now operate as a single carrier called “Republic Airline.” Republic will no longer be a publicly traded company.

“With the work of restructuring complete, we’re ready to come out of Chapter 11 laser-focused on reclaiming our leadership position in the regional airline industry by delivering outstanding operational reliability to our major airline partners, excellent customer service to our guests on board our aircraft, and maximizing future value for all our stakeholders,” Bedford said in a statement.

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com