TUPELO – Mayor Jack Reed Jr. says he has flown out of Tupelo as much as he can in the past 30 years, but even he admits convenience, reliability and affordability have become issues lately.
Still, he announced Monday that he is throwing his weight behind Delta Air Lines and its subsidiary, Mesaba Airlines, which hopes to continue air service here with a federal subsidy.
In doing so, Reed rejected a bid from SeaPort Airlines, which brought company officials twice in the past week to make a pitch to city leaders.
“While we appreciate very much SeaPort Airlines’ proposal and their interest in serving Tupelo (and we will certainly keep our eye on their company), it is our decision to inform you that we prefer Delta Air Lines’ proposal,” Reed said in a letter to Kevin Adams of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is reviewing the bids for the Essential Air Service Program.
Monday was the deadline for the DOT to receive comments from the community on their preference to provide air service in Tupelo. A decision by DOT is imminent.
SeaPort would provide four daily flights to Memphis and three to Atlanta on single-engine, nine-seat Pilatus PC-12 planes.
But in addition to the tickets to Memphis and Atlanta, passengers would have to pay for separate tickets to their next destination through a major airline.
Mesaba is owned by a major airline, passengers would avoid that additional step.
Because of that, Reed said the choice was clear.
Read more in Tuesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal