Port Authority in discussions with Southern Airways Express


Officials with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, reeling from the announcement that Allegiant Air is ending Youngstown flights in January, have stepped up efforts to attract another airline.

A committee of the Western Reserve Port Authority, which runs the airport, had a conference call Tuesday with Mark Cestari, an executive with Southern Airways Express, who explained that the company flies to 22 destinations, including 60 flights per day into Pittsburgh from airports throughout Pennsylvania such as Harrisburg and Lancaster.

The Memphis-based company uses 22 “tough-as-nails” nine-passenger Cessna Caravans and employs 90 pilots to fly 30 times per day into Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Baltimore.

It also flies routes in the Gulf Coast area, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Nashville.

The company, founded in 2013, calls itself “one of the fastest growing aviation companies in America” on its website.

In most markets, the airline flies four times per day. The destinations Southern Air would offer Youngstown would be determined later, but most times the airline offers a third of an airport’s flights locally, such as for people returning the same day; one third as connections to the major “legacy” airlines, such as American and Delta; and one third to connecting flights with low-cost carriers such as Southwest, Allegiant and Wow.

Cost of flights is lowest when making reservations 14 days in advance, more for seven-day and highest for “walk-up.”

For example, the price to Pittsburgh from Youngstown might be about $59 two weeks ahead, $139 seven days ahead and $189 the same day. Actual prices would be established later, Cestari said.

Read more about the company in Wednesday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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