Southern Airways Express
This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Parent company||Southern Airways Corporation|
|Headquarters||Hernando, Mississippi, and Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|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. Southern Airways Express acts as a local service airline for several cities in the Southern United States, and it 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 Transportation Security Administration security screening. In Southern's mid-Atlantic footprint, which includes Pittsburgh International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Airport, passengers embark and disembark through the primary secured (TSA) terminals. In June of 2018 Southern became an interline partner with American Airlines, allowing for single-ticketing and baggage transfers between Southern and American.
On February 12, 2019, Southern Airways announced its acquisition of Mokulele Airlines, a Hawaiian-based airline operating Cessna Grand Caravans and Pilatus PC-12's. Following the integration of the two airlines, the combined entity will operate 1,380 weekly flights, more flights in the 50 states than any other commuter air carrier. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. Southern intends to keep and strengthen the Mokulele brand in Hawaii.
Southern Airways Express was founded by Stan Little, a criminal defense attorney based in Hernando, Mississippi. Little owned a Golden Eagle 421 which was never used by the airline, although his private pilot, Scott Honnoll, did transition to the airline and advanced to the role of assistant chief pilot before returning to general aviation in November of 2015. Southern's initial funding was secured by a group of unknown investors which are believed to be connected to the University of Mississippi, the alma mater of Little and co-founder Keith Sisson. Southern Airways investor's were later revealed in FAA filings made public only after Southern Airways fought against releasing their names. In its first year, Southern operated as a DOT 380 scheduled charter provider with the flights being operated by Executive Express Aviation based in Sugar Grove, Ill. In March of 2014 Southern acquired Executive Express Aviation and its FAA charter certificate, retaining all of its employees in the process. Executive Express Aviation is still a private charter company and is marketed under the name Southern Private Jets. Southern Airways Express operates the Cessna Caravan aircraft on its scheduled service flights.
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.
In the fall of 2015, Southern Airways began operating flights on behalf of Seaport Airlines, but it discontinued that service when Seaport Airlines filed for bankruptcy in January 2016. In December 2016, Southern Airways took over Seaport Airlines' routes to Arkansas' Boone County Airport, Hot Springs Memorial Field Airport, and South Arkansas Regional Airport, and enplanements have grown markedly from all three cities.
On March 7, 2016, Southern Airways Express announced 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 with 34.
With the addition of service to Nashville International Airport in its Gulf footprint, Southern continues its expansion near its hometown.
Service between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport began September 5, 2018. On October 16, 2018, Southern Airways Express announced it would establish a new base at Palm Beach International Airport and begin service to Key West International Airport and Tampa International Airport on November 8, 2018. 
As of August 2016, the Southern Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Cessna 208 Caravan||19||9|
|Piper PA-31 Chieftains||2||9|
- "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". av-info.faa.gov. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
- Campbell, Colin. "Southern Airways Express to move hub to BWI Airport, add new routes to Pennsylvania, West Virginia".
- "About Us". Southern Airways Express. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- "Contact Us Archived 2014-10-04 at the Wayback Machine." 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.
- "Southern Airways Express secures more EAS contracts".
- Murff, Richard; Jones, Matthew. "Fly Me to the Gulf". THE BITTER SOUTHERNER. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- "Southern Airways Express Flight 001 Touches down in Destin!". Southern Airways Express Facebook Page. June 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "Southern Airways Express Tries to Replace Big Airlines One Small Mississippi Airport at a Time". Skift.com. Associated Press. 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
- 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.
- O'Boyle, Bill (August 15, 2018). "WBS airport to expand Pittsburgh service with weekend flights by new carrier". Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania).
- "Routes info". iflysouthern.com.
- "Southern Airways Express to start Birmingham-New Orleans flight - New Orleans Hyatt". www.neworleanshyatt.com.
- "Gulf Shores' airport lands low-cost start-up carrier Southern Airways Express (updated)".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2016-11-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "New flights announced". www.bizjournals.com. 2013.
- "Unchartered skies — Southern Airways adds another Mississippi airport - Mississippi Business Journal". 30 May 2014.
- "Southern Airways Moving Hub to Memphis International".
- Castens, Errol. "SAE to resume Oxford service in June".
- email@example.com, KATE DAY SAGER Era Reporter. "Limestone weathers flooding once again".
- "Southern Airways Express premieres Chattanooga-to-Memphis service".
- "Flights suspended". www.bizjournals.com. 2015.
- Lee, Melissa. "McGhee Tyson Airport offers direct flights to Memphis".
- News, Jennifer Johnson Backer, Memphis Daily. "Southern Airways Express Adds Four Destinations".
- "Southern Airways Express FAA Aircraft Registration". ch-aviation.ch. Retrieved 2014-10-04.