Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Southern Airways Express may land at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (KDTS), Destin, Florida

A new airline start-up may be setting its sights on Destin Airport.

A Memphis, Tenn.-based airline by the name of Southern Airways Express announced April 4 that it planned to enter the Memphis air travel market in May with daily service out of two area metropolitan airports, according to a press release from the company. Initial routes, the release says, will include eight cities across the south, and five of those destinations will be non-stop from Memphis.

While the company's website hasn't been launched yet, the airline's Facebook page displays an aerial photograph of Destin as its cover photo.

"We are not confirming any destinations at this point," Chief Operating Officer Keith Sisson told The Log.

A list of potential cities is not listed on the airline's Facebook page or in the press release. An article posted on Knoxville News Sentinel website, however, cites Memphis airport officials saying the airline would "fly out of DeWitt Spain Airport in Memphis and Olive Branch Airport to destinations including Destin, Fla."

Instead of using major hub airports, such as Atlanta Hartsfield, Southern Airways Express will fly between secondary, executive airports, the release said. All flights will be operated using "10-passenger, luxury executive-style planes with all-leather seating and complimentary iPads" for in-flight entertainment and business.

Southern Airways will not charge baggage fees for checked or carry-on luggage and passengers are only asked to arrive at the airport 15 minutes before their flights, according to the press release.

Okaloosa County Deputy Airports Director Mike Stenson said in an email that he has spoken to Southern Airways Express President and CEO Stan Little and he "expressed interest in seasonal charter service from the Destin Airport to a few other cities in the southeast."

"There have been a couple of operators that tried to do this under the umbrella of the FBO (Fixed Base Operator), but didn't work out," Stenson wrote to The Log. "We'll see what happens here."

Stenson said he hasn't heard from the company recently.

As for an announcement on potential destinations from Southern Airways Express, Sisson told The Log that the company will hold a grand opening celebration in Memphis April 22, where more details will be made available.

"If we were to come to Destin, we would be doing it in a fashion that hasn't been seen before," he said.

Source:  http://www.thedestinlog.com

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