Meridian, Miss. Meridian Mayor Percy Bland says the city has received bids from two airlines to provide commercial jet service to and from Meridian.
"It's very exciting," Mayor Bland exclaims. "As you know, last time we only had one bid and the community has been hungry for a new airline service. A lot of our residents here have been going to Jackson, they have been going to Birmingham, so we're very excited."
The mayor says a three or four person panel of local residents is being formed in order to determine which bid is the best. Right now, Mayor Bland tells Newscenter 11 he cannot release the names of the airlines. However, this move is expected to provide air service for the military.
"That's one reason we're going through this committee process," Airport Authority President Tom Williams says. "The proposals don't answer all the questions. So, it's essential every time to go ask for information. In this case, they do not clearly answer that. But, we have one phone call to the military and we'll find that out. We know one of them can, the second we'll be sure about."
Of course, Silver Airways has not been able to fly the military since the airline came to Meridian in October 2012. The Department of Transportation says Silver Airways will be required to stay in Meridian until a new airline is chosen and begins operating in the Queen City.
"We want our people to be able to fly that 50-passenger jet from Meridian," Bland points out.
Mayor Bland tells us he will be working with other city leaders and that special panel to decide which airline is best within the next 10 business days.