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Tupelo airport board chooses new airline carrier

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 7/08/2014 11:18 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Nearly three months have passed since Silver Airways made the announcement it was leaving Tupelo, but soon Silver will be a faint memory and the new airline carrier will fly in.

On Tuesday, the Tupelo Airport Authority Board chose Portland, Oregon based SeaPort Airlines, and unlike Silver Airways, board members think it will be a good fit for the All America City.

"We believe SeaPort will be reliable taking passengers with very affordable fares to either Nashville, Tenn. or Memphis, Tenn.," said board members Glenn McCullough.

SeaPort Airlines will fly to both Nashville and Memphis. It has a seating capacity of nine, average fare of $60, no first bag fee and will make 30 trips per week.

"It's actually gonna be cheaper to fly on SeaPort that it would be to drive," McCullough added.

It also put in a bid for service $1 million cheaper than its competitor, Air Choice One.

Tupelo Aviation Selection Committee Chairman Jim Newman recommended Air Choice One to the board, but ultimately, it chose the cheaper option.

Either way, Newman said he's satisfied.

"Flip a coin, and we still have two excellent airlines, doing the same thing and doing them well," Newman said. "We're gonna be a winner with either one, and that's what counts."

The board must now tell the United States Department of Transportation its choice. From there, Tupelo's ultimate airline carrier is in the hands of the DOT.

"Traditionally, the Department of Transportation has taken community comments very seriously in the selection of the carrier," said Tupelo Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson.

He said if the DOT chooses SeaPort Airlines, then flights will most likely begin in November, maybe as soon as October.

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