TUPELO – Passengers flying between Tupelo and Nashville will soon have more company on the planes.

Starting May 1, Contour’s twin-engine Jetstream aircraft will be back to their original configuration of 19 seats. Since April of 2016, the planes have only had nine seats.

But with nearly 10,000 boardings last year and a clear demand for more seats, Contour proposed adding back the seats in its bid to continue providing service to Tupelo.

An air service agreement is expected to be signed soon between Tupelo Regional Airport and Contour that will allow the additional seats and continue the 30 weekly roundtrip flights.

“I’m really excited and pleased about the opportunities to grow service here,” said TRA executive director Cliff Nash.

However, during the summer months, the planes will be limited to 15 passengers, as hotter air gets thin, making it harder to take off and land safely, mostly for smaller aircraft.

Nevertheless, the extra seats will come in handy especially on some of the more popular weekend flights, airport and airline officials have said.

The Department of Transportation last month agreed to a 30-month contract that could pay Contour a little more than $10.1 million during that span to continue service.

— Dennis Seid / Daily Journal