SkyWest Airlines, the regional airline that flies out of the Meridian Regional Airport, will change the airport's flight schedule in May to accommodate passengers trying to make connections through Chicago.
"We've been very pleased with our service from SkyWest," Tom Williams, the president and CEO of the Meridian Airport Authority, said. "But a few months ago they moved our Chicago flight from 3:30 (p.m.) to 6:30 (p.m.). Because it got into Chicago so late, it did not work so well."
Williams said the airline was working with schedules across the county but the later flight decreased boardings to Chicago.
"We think that moving the departure to the morning will be successful because Chicago can go east or west to make a connection," Williams said. "And Dallas is still a very big hub for American (Airlines) so getting in in the evening is doable."
On May 3, flights will shift to give Meridian one morning flight to Chicago and two evening flights to Dallas-Fort Worth. Flights arriving from Chicago and Dallas will both land in the evening.
"This will double the number of seats available to Dallas for us," Williams said. "Chicago has been very popular and I think Chicago's popularity will remain strong."
SkyWest may tweak its schedule again in the fall, though Williams remained hopeful that the changes would "make it even better."
"East Mississippi has embraced SkyWest," Williams said. "We appreciate each and every passenger we get and SkyWest is pleased with us."
The new schedule, effective May 3, will include:
• 7:05 a.m. departure for Chicago, arriving at 9:28 a.m.
• 5:30 p.m. departure for Dallas-Fort Worth at 5:30 p.m., arriving at 7:20 p.m.
• 6:40 p.m. departure for Dallas-Fort Worth (with a stop in Hattiesburg), arriving at 9:25 p.m.
• 4:55 p.m. arrival from Dallas-Fort Worth, leaving DFW at 3:20 p.m.
• 6:15 p.m. arrival from Chicago, leaving ORD at 4:10 p.m.
Williams noted that some sites may be slow to upload the new schedule or have estimated times rather than exact times but flights for May had already been uploaded into the system.