Southern Airways Express
|Parent company||Southern Airways Corporation|
|Headquarters||Hernando, Mississippi and Pompano Beach, Florida|
|Key people||Stan Little (Chairman & CEO)|
|Employees||236 (102 pilots)|
Southern Airways Express is a commuter airline operating in the United States, headquartered in the Memphis suburb of Hernando, Mississippi. It acts as a local service airline for several cities in the Southern United States and provides scheduled passenger service in the Mid-Atlantic Region subsidized by the US federal government under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
In its Gulf Region, Southern operates from executive terminals at primary airports, meaning that passengers are not required to check-in at the main passenger terminals, nor are they required to pass through TSA security screening. In Southern's Mid-Atlantic footprint, which includes the Metropolitan Washington Airports, passengers embark and disembark through the primary terminals.
Southern Airways Express was founded by Stan Little, an attorney based in Hernando, Mississippi. Little owned a Cessna 208 Caravan which he provided on loan before receiving US Department of Transportation air commuter authority and securing capital financing from unknown investors in order to start the airline. Southern Airways Express continues to operate Cessna Caravan aircraft and Little's personal pilot, Scott Honnoll, later became the airline's assistant chief pilot.
The airline started operations in June 2013, with its first flight from Olive Branch Airport near Memphis, Tennessee to Destin Executive Airport. Early destinations included University-Oxford Airport, Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport, New Orleans Lakefront Airport, and Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Due to the nature of the flights being public charters, the airline did not originally use TSA terminals. During the first year, the airline was run experimentally, operating different routes to test demand.
Southern Airways Express started flights to DeKalb–Peachtree Airport in September 2013, but the routes were then suspended. Service to DeKalb-Peachtree resumed on 30 May 2014. On 1 October 2014, Southern Airways Express relocated its Memphis hub from Olive Branch Airport to the Private Signature Terminal at Memphis International Airport, which is closer to the Memphis city center.
Southern Airways began operating flights in behalf of Seaport Airlines in the Fall of 2015 but discontinued that service when Seaport filed for bankruptcy in January 2016. In December 2016, Southern Airways took over all of the former Seaport routes in Arkansas (Harrison, Hot Springs, and El Dorado), and enplanements have grown markedly from all three cities.
Southern Airways Express announced on March 7, 2016 that it had purchased Fort Lauderdale-based Sun Air Express. The combined airline has since retired most of Sun Air Express's Piper aircraft in favor of the turbine-powered Cessna Caravan and has retired the Sun Air Express name in all cities that it serves. Southern now flies 106 daily departures system-wide and is the second largest airline at Pittsburgh International Airport by peak-day departures (34).
With the addition of Nashville (BNA) and Jackson, Mississippi (JAN) in the Gulf footprint, Southern continues its expansion near its hometown.
As of August 2016, the Southern Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Cessna 208 Caravan||19||9|
|Piper PA-31 Chieftains||3||9|
- "About Us". Southern Airways Express. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- "Contact Us." Southern Airways Express. Retrieved on November 21, 2014. "Southern Airways Express One Commerce Square, 21st Floor P.O. Box 3088 Memphis, TN 38173"
- "About Us". Southern Airways Express. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- Murff, Richard; Jones, Matthew. "Fly Me to the Gulf". THE BITTER SOUTHERNER. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- Associated Press (2014-06-07). "Southern Airways Express Tries to Replace Big Airlines One Small Mississippi Airport at a Time". Skift.com. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
- "Southern Airways Express Flight 001 Touches down in Destin!". Southern Airways Express Facebook Page. June 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- Yamanouhi, Kelly (7 May 2014). "Southern Airways to resume PDK flights". AJC.com. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- "Southern Airways Moving Hub to Memphis International". Memphis Daily News. 2014-09-16. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- Turner, Dennis (2014-09-16). "Southern Airways Express moves to MEM". WREG. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
- "Southern Airways Express eyes Atlanta Dekalb-Peachtree ops". ch-aviation.ch. Retrieved 2014-10-04.