The Hattiesburg/Laurel Regional Airport is planning on a bump in ticket sales when Silver Airways takes the reins from Delta as the lead carrier.
A tentative date for Silver planes to start taking off the Pine Belt runway is sometime in the fall - likely October 1. But some news that may get some area travelers online and buying tickets when they go on sale late this summer: flights out will no longer be connecting through Memphis, instead passengers will be catching that next flight in Atlanta
Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is one of the nation's largest airports, and the switch is a move the airport is hoping will help to entice travelers to take off locally.
"Anybody that's gone through Memphis lately has seen that Memphis is not the hub that it used to be - it's pretty quiet," said Hattiesburg/Laurel Airport Executive Director Tom Heanue. "So we're really happy with the Silver bid on the Saab 340 from here to Atlanta, which seems to be the hub that everyone in the Pine Belt wants to go to."
With the new carrier there will be about 60 airplane seats available per day for folks to purchase, which will maintain the two flights out a day that Delta currently services. However Silver Airways will operate a plane - not a jet, as Delta is doing now - so the aircraft will be a little bit smaller.
"It'll be seamless, it'll probably be that one morning that the flight leaves for Delta and then that new flight comes in - it'll be Silver," said Heanue of the transition.
"It's going to be a little difficult for our passengers. In the order that was written by the Department of Transportation, it does require that Delta take care of their passengers so any questions people have about their tickets, reservations, anything that they may have - they don't need to call the airport - they need to call Delta Airlines because it's Delta's responsibility to refund them, rebook them or make sure that things happen that they need to have happen for their travel plans."
The prices, Heanue says, will probably stay about where they are but, he reminds folks, the local option offers free parking and a shorter commute home at the end of long day of traveling.
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