Meridian, Miss. The Meridian Airport is less than three months away from its first flight with a new service carrier. The airport is in the process of transitioning over to ExpressJet with service provided by American Airlines under the American Eagle brand.
The first American Eagle flight departs on Nov. 6. It's a sigh of relief for many after issues with the airport's previous carrier, Silver Airways.
"We hope that we have a very customer-responsive group, and we're looking at what we can do in the terminal to provide an excellent customer experience for our passengers," Meridian Airport Authority President Tom Williams says.
One new benefit is that military will be able to fly with American Eagle.
"Our military family is a big part of the city of Meridian. And the benefit of being able to fly into Meridian for them and their families is a big win," Mayor Percy Bland says.
Connecting flights are through Dallas, and Williams says short travel times won't be an issue.
"If you leave Meridian at 7:25, we can connect and have you in Los Angeles before noon at 11:45. We can have you in Las Vegas at the same time. We can have you at New York at 2:40 in the afternoon," Williams says. "So the connections do work."
The U.S. Department of Transportation has directed Silver Airways to continue passenger service through Sept. 5, but Williams says that date will be extended. He does not anticipate any period without service.
Supporting local business is important in any city or community, but many people don't think of an airport in the same manner. Williams says that's crucial, though, if we want to keep this service.
"The airport's the same way," he explains. "If we don't use and support this air service, it will go away."
Prices have not been announced yet, but Williams says they do expect those numbers to be competitive.