This past Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Southern Airways flying the Chadron-Denver route under an Essential Air Service subsidy and the company couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
Southern’s bid to the federal Dept of Transportation projected 6,000 passengers the first year and Chief Commercial Officer Mark Cestari says the airline is right on target despite the impact of lingering COVID issues and worldwide economic concerns.
Southern provides 10 roundtrips a week and Cestari says the percentage of empty seats continues to shrink.
About the only disappointment Cestari has about the Chadron market is that Southern hasn’t been able to follow through on moving from the Cessna Caravan to the Beechcraft KingAir
Cestari says another factor is that the KingAir is a more technically sophisticated plane that needs a more experienced pilot.
Cestari says experience is vital for pilots on the Chadron-Denver route because of topographical challenges, especially the Pine Ridge.
Southern Airways has embraced Chadron from the beginning, and for the second year is sponsoring the Fur Trade Days Fireworks Show.