Quietly and without fanfare, Southern Airways has begun flying a Beechcraft King Air 200 on its Chadron-Denver route, replacing the Cessna Caravan used since the airline began serving the route in June.
Chief Commercial Officer Mark Cestari says the plan was always to switch to the King Air as soon as possible, but a variety of issues outside Southern’s control delayed the eventual switchover by several months.
Both the Caravan and King Air hold 9 passengers, but the King Air has two engines while the Caravan has only one.
Cestari thinks the King Air offers a more enjoyable passenger experience because its pressurized cabin allows it to fly above much of the turbulence that’s common in this region.
Cestari says Southern added one piece of equipment to its King Air that sharply expands its luggage capability.
The King Air is faster than the Caravan and will cut 15-to-20 minutes off the flight, but Cestari says the scheduled times are staying the same because it’s impossible to predict how long it might take to land once the plane reaches Denver.
Southern Airways at one point had 2 round-trips 5 days a week with no flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but now has single round trips on those days too.
The first 5 day a week flight leaves Chadron at 7:40 AM and arrives in Denver at 9:10 with the return flight departing Denver International at 11:40 and getting in to Chadron at 1:10.
The second flight takes off from Chadron at 1:45 and lands at Denver at 3:15 with the final inbound plane leaving Denver at 4:00 and arriving in Chadron at 5:30 PM.
The outgoing flight on Tuesdays and Saturdays leaves Chadron at 11:40 and arrives at 12:45 while the return flight departs Denver at 4:00 and lands at 5:05.