Silver Airways has agreed to reduce the number of roundtrip flights between Greenville, Tupelo and Atlanta, as requested by the mayors and airport officials of the Mississippi cities a couple of weeks ago.
The new schedule will begin March 3, but details are still being worked out. Tupelo Regional Airport executive director Josh Abramson said he’s getting more details on Thursday, when he meets with the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based regional airline.
Tupelo’s and Greenville’s mayors had written a letter to Silver last month requesting the airline reduce the number of roundtrip flights in order to improve service.
The reasoning behind the request? Since service has been less than stellar – with cancellations and delays turning people off from Silver, the cities think fewer flights will improve Silver’s performance.
Here’s some what we wrote about it on Jan. 28:
The request may seem strange, but airport executive director Josh Abramson said the move could improve reliability of Silver Airways, which has been providing service between Greenville, Tupelo and Atlanta since October 2012.
It’s been anything but a smooth ride, as passenger boardings in Tupelo fell to 5,331 last year, a 31 percent drop from a year earlier and the lowest total in at least 28 years.
“Due to Silver’s reliability issues, passenger traffic is extremely weak as reflected in our monthly boardings,” Abramson wrote in a letter to Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton.
Abramson said new regulations for commercial pilots requiring them to have more rest time between flights has stretched an already-thin piloted fleet in Silver. A reduced schedule – from 36 round-trip flights a week to 24 – would relieve Silver’s pilot.
“At this time, 24 reliable flights are a far greater benefit to the community than 36 unreliable flights.”
Shelton and Greenville Mayor John Cox have written letters to Silver requesting a reduction in flights.
The proposed new schedule would keep the overnight flight pairing that starts in Greenville early in the morning and returns to Greenville late in the evening.
The new schedule would operate only one midday round-trip flight on an Atlanta-Tupelo-Greenville-Tupelo-Atlanta routing. Service would be twice a day on that schedule Monday-Friday, with one trip on that routing each Sunday and Monday.