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Air service to Orlando could be on the horizon

airplane-landing_rgbDirect service from Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport to Orlando could resume after Southwest Airlines’ departure  if airport officials receive a U.S. Department of Transportation grant they say they are confident of getting.

The grant is the same one by which the airport gained service to New York City.

The direct service to Orlando ceases with Monday’s departure of Southwest Airlines from Jackson. But service could resume soon through a helping hand from USDOT, said Jackson Municipal Airport Authority spokesman Gene Moore.

The Airport Authority will appy for the Small Community Air Service Development Grants later this summer, he said.  “These grants have various stipulations related to the total amount of funds available, and where they can be expended so until the program is opened for this year, we do not have any further details to provide,” Moore said in an email.

“JMAA was successful in applying for and receiving a similar grant in support of new service to the New York market, so we feel fairly confident that we will be equally successful this year.”

» READ MORE: Vaya con Dios Southwest — last flight departs Jackson Saturday night

Meanwhile, Medgar Ever International’s remaining carriers are adding flights.

United Airlines has already scheduled additional flights to their hubs in Chicago and Houston, Moore said.  Delta Airlines is introducing larger scale aircraft to offer additional services, he added.

American Airlines and US Airways are completing their planned merger to become the “New American.” Once that merger is complete, we expect that New American will do an assessment of the cities they are serving and the type of aircraft they are operating, Moore said.

That merger could lead to a new occupant for some of the airport space Southwest leaves behind. “Representatives from the New American have made inquiries about consolidating the existing American Eagle and US Airways operations in the leasehold currently held by Southwest,” Moore said.

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