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New Airline to Serve Panama City Beach

From the Panama City News Herald:

Southern AirlinesA new Memphis, Tenn.-based airline has announced plans to offer direct flights between the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) and cities around the Southeast.

Southern Airways Express will launch service to ECP, Destin and other destinations in the Southeast at the end of the month. Instead of large passenger jets, Southern Airways Express will operate three nine-seat turbo prop engine caravans with luxury, executive-style seating.

The new startup airline hopes to bring a sense of fun and luxury back to the aviation business.

“This is very much like what executives travel in and it’s very much like what people who are used to traveling in nice corporate aircraft travel in,” said Keith Sisson, chief operating officer for Southern Airways Express. “We’re just taking that experience and transferring it to the general public, and we’re doing so at very affordable rates.

“We’re trying to make flying fun again,” Sisson added. “Flying hasn’t been fun in quite a while. This is a fun flight. These planes, they’re like sight-seeing tours that have a destination. There’s not a TSA security hassle. You don’t have to wait two hours at the airport. We’re telling people to show up 15 minutes before the flight takes off, check in at the airport and we’ll get you to where you want to go and we’ll make it fun.”

Southern Airways Express announced its summer route during an event Monday in Memphis. By late June, Sisson said he anticipates the airline will have up to 106 flights a week.

The airline will offer flights between ECP and Memphis; Oxford, Miss.; Birmingham, Ala.; Destin and New Orleans.

“They’re very important locations,” Sisson said. “You can’t turn a corner in the Mid-South area of Memphis and not see somebody who either has a condo or has access to a condo down in that area.

“There’s such a need for people in Memphis to have easy access to the Florida Gulf Coast,” he added.

The airline is designed to be year-round, but Sisson said they may back off on the frequency of flights in the off-peak months. During the fall, he said they plan to offer special college football packages to allow people to fly to Oxford, home of the University of Mississippi, or maybe even Tallahassee for games.

One-way ticket prices will range $129 to $249. According to Southern’s Facebook page, tickets will be on sale soon.

Posted by Vince Bishop - Thursday, 05/16/13, 05:44 PM - Comments - Category: News

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