Meridian, Miss. A little over a year ago, Delta Airlines left Meridian and 3 other Mississippi cities.
Some have considered the move a major blow to the communities which need good transportation in order to entice companies and businesses. Delta's sudden departure left many asking, why?
"They made a strategic decision at a very senior level as to what they want their company to look like," airline consultant Mike Mooney explains. "Sometimes when you make a strategic decision and it filters down to a tactical level, it may not makes sense in one or two places. If it were me, I would have kept Meridian."
Silver Airways stepped up to the plate to fill some pretty big shoes, but such a transition isn't without problems. The airline was asked to do almost the impossible, but it did it anyway.
"You have to put it in the context of what they were asked to do," Mooney feels. "They were asked to replace an airline that's been here 40 years, do it on a dime, do it quickly, do it in 4 cities in Mississippi, one in Alabama, and replace United airlines up in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and do it in just 2 month span."
While Silver Airways is not as large as Delta, Mooney believes that that is what makes Silver Airways the right choice for cities like Meridian.
"A small independent airline is going to work hard in the small community," Mooney says. "Their focus is the small community. Delta's focus is on alliances in Europe or dominating New York City."
The Meridian Regional Airport is an Essential Air Service (EAS) airport, which means Silver Airways receives subsidies for flying in and out of Meridian.