Categorized | Air service, Business news, Northeast Mississippi, Tupelo, Tupelo Regional Airport

Silver Airways ordered to extend service through Sept. 5

As expected, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered Silver Airways to extend air service in Tupelo through Sept. 5.TUpelo Airport_Sign

Silver said in April it was not going to seek renewal of  its Essential Air Service contract, and submitted a 90-day “notice of termination.”

The Transportation Department then ordered Silver to continue service in Tupelo, as well as Greenville, Hattiesburg/Laurel, Meridian and Muscle Shoals through today. The 30-day extension ordered today keeps Silver flying to Atlanta for those cities.

Meridian and Laurel/Hattiesburg, meanwhile, will get new air service starting Nov. 1 with Express Jet.

Tupelo is awaiting word if its recommendation for SeaPort Airlines will be accepted by DOT. That decision is imminent, airport officials say.

The order states:

A new air carrier has not been selected to provide replacement EAS at Tupelo, but we expect that decision in the very near future. Since a new air carrier will not replace Silver’s service at Laurel/Hattiesburg, Meridian, and Tupelo before the August 6, 2014 hold-in date, we must extend Silver’s service obligation for an additional 30 days, or until replacement service begins, whichever occurs first, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. § 41734(c).

Those three cities are in better shape than Greenville and Muscle Shoals. While these two cities will get service through Sept. 5 as well, they’re in danger of losing air service altogether by not meeting EAS requirements. Explains the DOT:

Order 2014-6-6, June 24, 2014, Greenville and Muscle Shoals’ eligibility for EAS was terminated because the communities did not generate 10 enplanements per day as required by 49 U.S.C. § 41731(a)(1)(B). Both communities have filed petitions for a waiver from the requirement. Those were due July 24, 2014. The Department is currently reviewing their petitions. If either or both communities are granted a waiver, the Department will make a carrier selection after that determination has been made. During this time, we will continue to hold Silver in to provide EAS at both communities, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. § 41734(c).

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