TUPELO – While city and airport officials wait for the U.S. Department of Transportation to sign off on new subsidized air service, the agency has ordered current carrier Silver Airways to extend its service through Sept. 5.
Silver said in April it was not going to seek renewal of its two-year Essential Air Service contract, and submitted a 90-day “notice of termination.”
After that notice, the Transportation Department then ordered Silver to continue service in Tupelo, as well as Greenville, Hattiesburg/Laurel, Meridian and Muscle Shoals through this week. The 30-day extension ordered Thursday keeps Silver flying in those cities.
Meanwhile, Tupelo has recommended that Portland, Oregon-based SeaPort Airlines become the next carrier for the city.
SeaPort’s $2.5 million bid provides 30 total flights to Memphis and Nashville per week. Greenville and Muscle Shoals, Alabama – which also has been served by Silver – have recommended SeaPort as well.
Meridian and Laurel/Hattiesburg, meanwhile, will get new air service starting Nov. 1 with Express Jet.
In its order Thursday, the Transportation Department said a decision for Tupelo is imminent. “A new air carrier has not been selected to provide replacement EAS at Tupelo, but we expect that decision in the very near future,” it said.