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The original item was published from 1/24/2019 3:56:44 PM to 3/2/2019 12:00:01 AM.

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City of Hot Springs News Releases

Posted on: January 24, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Southern Airways sets new passenger record in Hot Springs

Southern Airways Express, Memphis, January 23, 2019 — Southern Airways Express, operator of the Essential Air Service routes from Memorial Field Airport in Hot Springs, today announced an 71% increase in passenger traffic over calendar year 2017.

Southern’s internal numbers show that 8,937 passengers either arrived or departed from Hot Springs in 2018. That is up from 5,213 passengers in 2017, which was also an increase over the previous year.

In addition to the 71% increase in passenger growth during 2018, Southern tallied the most commercial passengers at the airport since records have been kept. The previous best year on file was 2006 with 7,585.

"It was a great year for Southern Airways in Hot Springs, the airline provided reliable and dependable service for the community, and the community responded with outstanding support,” said Glen Barentine, Airport Director, City of Hot Springs. “The airport looks forward in partnering with Southern Airways in 2019 and beyond.”

Southern’s ability to grow the passenger count in Hot Springs, and indeed all of its markets in the region, is due to a variety of reasons. First, Southern’s fares at Hot Springs have remained steady since taking over the service 2017. Second, the service reliability has reached near-perfect levels. Not including weather-related issues and runway closures, Southern has operated an impressive 99% of its Hot Springs flights over the past six months.

Another reason for the growth in passenger numbers is due to the success of the Dallas hub, which is not only a popular feeder market for Hot Springs tourism, but also one of the largest airline hubs in the nation, allowing for hundreds of daily connections.

“Southern’s scale in Arkansas is one of the main reasons we are able to perform at such high levels in Hot Springs,” said Stan Little, Chairman and CEO. “Operating scheduled air service at three airports in the state guarantees a high reliability at each of them, since extra pilots and extra aircraft are never far away. Our operational spares can easily be deployed to cover a plane’s flat tire or a pilot’s sick call.”

In addition to Hot Springs, Southern operates the Essential Air Service contracts in the Arkansas cities of Harrison and El Dorado, both of which also experienced passenger growth in 2018.

Passengers looking for more information about the Southern Airways may call the customer service center at 1-800-329-0485 or visit Southern’s website at


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Southern’s chief marketing officer, Keith Sisson ( 228-313-9920).

Founded in 2013, Hernando, Miss.-based Southern Airways Express has quickly grown to become one of the largest commuter airlines in the United States. Operating a fleet of Cessna Caravans and Grand Caravans, Southern serves 20 cities with more than 100 peak-day departures from hubs at Baltimore, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Memphis, Palm Beach, and Pittsburgh. For more information, go to or visit them on all major social media sites.

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