Hattiesburg-Laurel airport ratings up, maintaining numbers necessary

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The numbers are up for the Hattiesburg-Laurel airport, but maintaining and increasing numbers are important to continue its flight service.

The airport had a bit of struggle filling airline seats to Dallas when it partnered with Silver Airways according to Tom Heanue, airport's Executive Director.

"They were just not very dependable, they did not show up on time, sometimes they did not show up, and it was very hard for folks to want to book a flight" said Heanue.

Heanue said the airport has partnered with American Eagle for the past 19 months, and flight service has increased from 9% since May of last year.

He said, "We have a very reliable, very excellent service, it's a 50 passenger jet."

The airport has been granted 2 years of essential air service (EAS) subsidy by the U.S. Department of Transportation, but is dependent on future passenger traffic. "A lot of it is because we are a Delta county, a lot of people get sky miles" said Heanue.

He added, "It makes it a lot difficult to push another brand, but it is a very good brand."

If the airport does not fly a minimum of 50 passengers daily, the airport can lose its local flight service.

"It is very hard to find a carrier for your airport, there is just not a lot of them doing them anymore" said Heanue.

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