Pine Belt travelers could get direct flights to Dallas, with new American Eagle subsidy bid

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Travelers who use the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport could soon get direct flights to Dallas, if a new agreement between American Eagle Airlines and the U.S. Department of Transportation is approved.

American Eagle is bidding for another two-year Essential Air Service (EAS) subsidy from the federal government, which would begin this fall.

The airline has been providing commercial service to the airport with an EAS subsidy for the past 19 months.

The airline offers two flights a day to Dallas, with stopovers in Meridian.

But, airport officials said the proposed bid includes plans for an afternoon flight each day direct to Dallas.

Airport executive director Tom Heanue said American Eagle has done well in the Pine Belt/Meridian markets.

He said in May of this year, Hattiesburg/Laurel boarded 728 passengers, which was a nine percent increase over May of 2015.

He said overall passenger traffic (in/out) in May was 1,339, which was the highest number since October 2015.