Meridian Regional Airport

Meridian Regional Airport

Meridian Regional Airport will offer new flight times and no longer have a shared service with Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport beginning in September.

SkyWest Airlines announced the changes, which go into effect Sept. 4, on Monday. The flights continue with an American Airlines brand.

Skywest will operate two daily non-stop flights, one to Dallas and one to Chicago from Meridian. MEI will be expected to fill the 50 seat passenger jet to Dallas and Chicago on its own, according to a Meridian Airport Authority news release.

With the new schedule, departures include:

MEI departs to DFW at 7:16 a.m. and arrives at 9:05 a.m.

MEI departs to ORD at 12:25 p.m. and arrives at 2:48 p.m.

Arrivals include:

DFW departs to MEI at 10:10 a.m. and arrives at 11:52 a.m.

ORD departs to MEI at 8:29 p.m. and arrives at 10:35 p.m.

The change moves the departure to Chicago from early morning and the Dallas-Fort Worth departure from late afternoon. An evening departure to Dallas-Fort Worth that included a stop in Hattiesburg has been discontinued.

Tom Williams, president of the Meridian Airport Authority, said the discontinued flight was lightly used by SkyWest to reposition aircraft.

Previously, the arrivals from Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth were in the early evening.

The morning departure to Dallas and midday departure to Chicago will provide more seat availability and strong East and West connections, according to the news release. The later return flight from Chicago will meet more arriving flights and make Meridian more accessible and convenient for travelers, according to the news release.

With the exception of the repositioning flight, boardings have been increasing.

The two airports had partnered to attract SkyWest Airlines to provide jet service with an Americian Airlines brand to the two airports in November 2014.

"We like to think back prior to November 2014," Williams said. "Boardings were down to 300 per month because of unrelaiable service. This has gotten us to 1,800 per month in a good month."

Williams said having two connection cities is unique.

"I think we found only one airport our size doing it," Williams said.

"In a community our size, the fact that we have air service is big," Williams said. "To get the service and retain it really is big."

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