BROOKVILLE — Southern Airways touched down in Brookville Tuesday . Southern Airways Express with headquarters in Memphis, TN, was the successful bidder to be the carrier for the DuBois-Jefferson County Airport, (DUJ).
“We are really excited about what we are building in Pennsylvania and what part the DuBois Airport will play in that,” said Stan Little, the CEO, president and co-founder of the airline. “We did win the EAS bid for your local airport and we are going to bring back daily service to Pittsburgh. This airport has had daily service to Pittsburgh for many years in the past and it was an integral part of the regional network.
“We are also going to be the first to do a dual hub system out of the airport. I do not believe DuJ has ever had dual hub status,” said Little. “So we are very hapy to announce that we are adding Baltimore Washington International (BWI) as your second hub from here.
“We are going back to the frequency that you had in days past. There will be six flights a day rather than the current three. Pretty much from 5:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. we will connect you to the national grid from your local airport,” he said.
“On top of that, we are most pleased to annouce that fares start at $29. Now there is absolutely no reason to ever drive to Pittsburgh or Baltimore or Washington Dulles. You can arrive a half hour before your flight, park for free, board here and wind up inside the sterile concourse at either Baltimore or Pittsburgh airports,” said Little.
“That is an upgrade from what you have now. That means there will be 54 seats in and 54 seats out daily,” said Little.
“It looks like, right now, that the roll out for the flights will be just before Thanksgiving,” he said. “We are working with your current air service provider to make certain that is a seamless transition. If you have tickets to Washington those tickets will not be disrupted.
“We are ging to do our best to take over smoothly and cautiously. We are going to keep most of the same staff. We have given offers to the current staff,” said Little.
“I think you will find that Southern Airways s different than a lot of carriers. The customer comes first every day and on every flight, system-wide,” he said. “We have striven as we built this airline to base it on the glory days of flying. We will treat you like you were back in the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and even the ‘80’s. We get to know each and every passenger and we take care of each and every passenger.
“If you haven’t flown out of DuJ airport in the last few years I would invite you to try us out and if you do not have an enjoyable flight, I want to hear about it,” he said. “We have built our reputation on doing right by the customer. Reliable, safe and affordable air travel is what we bring to the region.
“This will be our eighth city in the state of Pennsylvania. We are working hard to be Pennsylvania’s airline. With the addition of the next city, whatever that may be, we will have more destinations that any other airline including American and Delta,” said Little.
The aircraft used by Southern is a Cessna 208 Caravan, a single-engined turboprop, fixed-tricycle landing gear, short-haul regional airliner. The airplane typically seats nine passengers with a single pilot.
“It is one of the safest and most reliable airplanes,” said Little who owns a Caravan. “We have retrofitted all of the aircraft with an executive leather interior so it would be similar to what you would have on a corporate style aircraft.”
Southern is also keeping the maintenance facilty at DuJ. “All of aircraft will be painted in DuBois and all of our avionics will be done in DuBois. We will be doing some of the heavy maintenance in DuBois. We may also be doing some of the pilot training in DuBois. It is an excellent facility out there. It is really superior to anything else in our network,” he said.
“We have a class of 32 pilots who will begin training in a few weeks and we do not have any faciity that has a big enough room for them. We may train some of them in Lancaster and some of them in DuBois,” said Little.
For more information about Southern Airways, check their webste at: www.iflysouthern.com