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Muskegon Co. Airport's passenger flight numbers could triple soon

The Southern Airways Express proposal for up to 36 flights a week still requires USDOT approval.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — A proposal submitted to the US Department of Transportation would effectively triple the number of inbound and outbound passenger flights at Muskegon County Airport. 

In March, SkyWest, the airport's sole passenger carrier requested transportation officials release the airline from its obligations to several dozen Essential Air Service communities, including Muskegon.

The request came amid a national shortage of pilots. 

SkyWest cited staffing concerns as its principal reason in requesting its contract be terminated early. 

The Department of Transportation then ordered the airline to remain until a replacement carrier could be installed, while allowing the airline to cut its schedule from 14 to 12 flights weekly. 

USDOT officials have been soliciting bids to take over service. 

The new proposal from Southern Airways Expressthe only proposal submitted thus farwhich called for up to 36 trips weekly, would mean more than doubling the number of available passenger flights. 

Southern Airways Express uses smaller aircraft than the 50-seater regional jets currently utilized by outgoing carrier SkyWest.

The airline would employ nine-passenger planes instead. 

Fares would run around $52 dollars for a standard one way trip, per the proposal.

The deal still required Department of Transportation approval at the time of publication. 

SkyWest previously asked to be released from its contract by the second week in June.

The airport director told 13 ON YOUR SIDE that was unlikely, though he fully anticipated that a decision would be made and that the new carrier would be installed at some point in the next several months. 

    

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