Reed's letter should have been enough for DOT to sign off on Delta's proposal, but city leaders are still waiting to hear from Washington.
Portland, Ore.-based SeaPort Airlines also offered a competing bid.
But Mesaba Airlines is likely the choice, SeaPort's chief operating officer admitted.
Rob McKinney said that without a letter of support from city officials, SeaPort's bid would not be considered. The Daily Journal asked McKinney if Reed's letter meant that Mesaba would be the default choice for DOT.
"I am surprised by the delay in the DOT's decision," McKinney said. "Unless there is a rule change that is in progress that has not become public, then you are correct that Mesaba should be the default choice. The DOT can pick the cheapest of Mesaba's options though."
The subsidy would come via the Essential Air Service Program.
EAS spokesman Bill Mosley said that the comments were being reviewed and a decision would be made "soon." He added that Reed would be notified first.
Mesaba, the Delta subsidiary that currently provides two daily flights out of Tupelo Regional Airport, said in July that it could no longer provide air service without a federal subsidy administered through EAS.
That set off a chain of events, with DOT telling Mesaba it had to continue service, and that it would accept bids for subsidized service.
Mesaba's bid included four different options, ranging from a little more than $1 million to almost $2 million.
Reed, along with U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Mississippi 1st District Congressman Travis Childers, all wrote letters in support of Mesaba/Delta's "Option One," which would provide three daily flights. It's also the most expensive, at nearly $2 million.
SeaPort offered seven daily flights - four to Memphis, three to Atlanta - from Tupelo aboard its nine-passenger Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. It's bid was about $1.1 million.
SeaPort flew a plane to Tupelo twice to lobby city and airport board members. It drew some support, but not from Reed, who said that Mesaba's use of 34-seat Saab planes and the company's direct connection with major airlines and destinations were ideal.
However, the DOT may not choose Mesaba's bid that offers the three daily flights city leaders want. DOT could choose the cheapest option, priced at just under $1.1 million, that keeps the schedule Tupelo Regional has now of two daily flights.