Southern Airways Express, who service area includes the Boone County Airport in Harrison, today announces a six-month suspension of its scheduled service between Palm Beach, Tampa, and Key West, as well as its service between Tampa and Destin, Fla. Weekend service between Memphis and Destin will remain available, but flights between Memphis and Nashville will also be suspended. These changes are a result of slowed demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancellations are effective immediately. Flights will resume October 19, 2020.
Seasonal service from Boston/Norwood, Providence, R.I., and Hyannis to the island of Nantucket was scheduled to return April 17, 2020. That date has been postponed until May 22. Passengers with tickets booked on canceled flights will be contacted by the Southern Airways Customer Service Team and offered refunds or credits for future use.
“Southern will be shifting all of its resources to Pennsylvania, California, West Virginia, and Arkansas to provided added support for our Essential Air Service communities,” said Stan Little, Chairman, and CEO of Southern Airways Corporation. “Providing reliable air service to rural America has never been more important than it is now. We stand ready to serve our communities as the nation combats this pandemic. Effective immediately, Southern will offer hospitals, doctors’ offices, and public service agencies free counter-to-counter shipping of medical and cleaning supplies between our hub cities and rural communities.”*
Southern operates multiple daily frequencies connecting communities in the mid-Atlantic region to hubs at Pittsburgh and Baltimore. In the Gulf region, Southern connects three rural Arkansas cities to hubs at Dallas (DFW) and Memphis. In California, Southern provides the only air service between Imperial and Los Angeles. During these difficult times, Southern is offering discounted air travel for all medical personnel and first responders for a flat fare of $29, which is available by calling the Southern Call Center and submitting verified credentials.
In an effort to avoid layoffs as a result of COVID-19, Southern Airways recently announced a progressive compensation decrease that affected all of its 500 employees. Layoffs resulting from the announced schedule reduction are not expected, pending the passage of Congress’ Coronavirus stimulus package. “This is bipartisan stimulus package that will allow us to continue to provide employment and health insurance for our workforce,” said Little. “Without it, we, along with all other airlines, will not have the cash to support the needs of our employees and the communities that rely on our service.” The Senate is expected to vote again on the bill Wednesday.
Southern, with operational footprints in the Gulf South, the mid-Atlantic, Hawai‘i, California, and seasonally in New England, is one of the largest commuter airlines in the country.