New airline recommended for McKellar-Sipes; direct flight to Chicago possible

The Jackson-Madison County Airport Authority has voted to make a recommendation for a new airline to service McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport, and in the process, possibly add a direct flight to Chicago from Jackson.

A special called meeting of the board lasted well over three hours as two airlines pitched their essential air service proposals in person vying for recommendation to the Department of Transportation.

Five airlines originally submitted their proposals to become the airline at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport, which were narrowed to Air Choice One, and Southern Airways Express.

After hearing proposals and receiving answers to questions from both commuter airlines, the board voted to recommend Southern Airways Express as their selection with a two-year contract.

“Southern Airways Express has 35 aircraft with over 220 daily departures across the country,” said Steve Smith, executive director of the Jackson-Madison County Airport Authority in a press release. “Their on-time performance is No. 1 in the nation at 94.1%, and their controllable completion rate was over 99%.

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