/Southern Airways hopes to set trend with new Jackson to Nashville flight

Southern Airways hopes to set trend with new Jackson to Nashville flight

At 8:55 AM, the inaugural flight of Southern Airways to Nashville departs from a private terminal at Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers Airport. This is five minutes earlier than scheduled. You’ll be flying above subdivisions and trailer parks, farms, and the Ross Barnett Reservoir in no time. However, the flight doesn’t leave early or is so enjoyable by chance. Southern Airways’ business model is built on the ability to eliminate some of the more unpleasant aspects of commercial aviation. First, you can park directly in front of the terminal at no additional cost. The Transportation Security Administration screens passengers before they board the plane. They do an electronic background check, so there are no need to take off shoes, belts or toiletries. Capt. Capt. Ecton meets with his passengers immediately after everyone has arrived to review safety procedures. Southern Airways’ chief marketing officer Keith Sisson was a co-founder. He said that the company offers the opportunity to travel like wealthy people to commercial travelers. Sisson said that the company gets you there with a level of service similar to what one would get on their private aircraft. This was revealed by Mississippi Today on Monday, as it embarked on its maiden voyage on Jackson’s newest route. Every day, except Saturdays, the flights depart from Jackson’s Atlantic Aviation terminal at 9 a.m. You arrive in Memphis at the Executive Terminal, managed by Signature Flight Support, Orlando. After a shaky landing because of strong ground winds, we spend approximately 15 minutes on the ground and then board the single-propeller Cessna 208 Caravan with nine passengers. It was originally designed to transport cargo for FedEx in 1984. It takes approximately two hours and 45 minutes to reach Nashville. Southern Airways announced the new service this summer after the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill to transform the Jackson Airport Authority. Previously, Jackson city officials appointed the members of the body. Now state officials select the members. Supporters of that legislation raised concerns about the management of Jackson-appointed leadership at the airport, mainly due to the departure of Southwest Airline in 2013. The departure of Southwest was part a trend in the industry for larger carriers to abandon medium-sized and small markets like Jackson. This raised questions about the viability of the airport, even though it was still profitable. Southern Airways Express was founded as Southwest was taking off. According to records from the Mississippi Secretary Of State, the company was established in November 2013. Stan Little, the company’s chief executive officer, is based in Hernando. The company is actually domiciled in Southaven. Sisson, a native of Biloxi, is currently in Pittsburgh to assist with the launch of Southern Airways’ mid-Atlantic service. Capt. Capt. Ecton, pilot, resides in the St. Louis region. Southern’s primary focus is its service from Memphis to Destin, Fla. Little, the CEO, said the Jackson-Memphis-Nashville service route has been in the works for a couple of years. These two capital cities share a strong economic connection, according to Little. They have great connections in law, finance, education, accounting, government and leisure travel. “The demand is enormous, and we’re happy, as Mississippi’s main airline, to be meeting it,” Little stated in a news release. Southern Airways used to fly out of Madison, but it served the Jackson market until recently. The main Jackson airport allows pilots the ability to fly lower, at around 200 feet above the ground. This is in contrast to the 400 feet required by small airports for visibility. It also places the airline on Internet travel websites such as Travelocity. Sisson, marketing chief, stated that the company’s growth strategy was two-pronged. The first is to “beat the cars” at the lowest price. For example, the Jackson-Nashville route beats the car because it cuts down on the travel time. According to Travelocity, a roundtrip ticket to Nashville by Southern Airways that is booked two weeks ahead of time costs $475. American Airlines’ same trip takes over four hours due to the 54-minute layover in Charlotte. It costs about $400 on the same website. This new route was created through negotiations with Jackson airport officials as well as local businesses like Butler Snow, Metropolitan Bank, Horne LLP and Horne LLP. All three of these companies have Nashville offices. In a statement to the media, Pam Ware, chief operating officer of Metropolitan Bank said that there is no doubt that this route is something Mississippi businesses have long desired. A Jackson airport spokesperson, Liston Sage, stated that officials aren’t giving up on trying to attract a large carrier, but that the airport is also focusing on attracting ultra-low-cost carriers. The airport created an incentive program to help new carriers like Southern Airways. It includes a waiver of all airport fees for the first year and a reduction of 50% for the second year. This formula takes into account factors such as destination and aircraft size. Sisson stated that Southern Airways intends to make Jackson-Nashville an actual nonstop and avoid Memphis. The company plans to add service to New Orleans and Atlanta in the next year to compete with Delta. Sisson believes that travelers are looking for more destinations options, despite major airlines moving towards hub cities. His company has the opportunity to tap this opportunity with its smaller aircraft and less bureaucracy. He said, “If there’s a trend we’re setting it.”