City Leaders Studying New Airline Services

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Meridian, Miss. The search for a possible new air service in Meridian started late last year, when Meridian Airport Authority President Tom Williams and Mayor Percy Bland made a trip to Albany, New York for an Air Service Conference. It was there, where the two met a consultant who has guided the city of Meridian in getting jet service.

"We're very pleased that in a world where a lot of communities have no air service or small turbo prop air service that we can provide for them," said Williams. "Number one, we got two bids, number two, both of those bids were for 50 seat jets."

The two companies to offer the city of Meridian a bid were Aerodynamics Incorporated and Express Jet. Although both show interest in operating in Meridian, Mayor Percy Bland says a committee will be formed to decide which airline is right for the city and surrounding areas.

"I think everyone from a region standpoint knows that it's better for us to work together, to use our resources together, and our strengths together to market this entire area and that's what I planned to do as mayor," said Bland. "Sometimes I think we get caught up on who takes the lead on all that."

Now comes the daunting task for the selected committee of three or four people to ask the tough questions, something that wasn't done when Silver came to Meridian.

"On the surface everything looked great, Silver Airlines were the only bidder," said Williams. "We thought ok we can make this work, this is going to be ok for our community. Maybe a little more digging would have been smart at that point, and that's what I don't want to miss this time around. You know, asking the tough questions, can you carry the military is a major question."

It's questions like that, that will determine just which carrier is right for the city of Meridian and the surrounding areas.