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Southern Airways Acquires Regional Carrier Air Choice One

2 min read

Southern Airways Express of Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday announced it has acquired Air Choice One of St. Louis, the passenger service provider at Jonesboro Municipal Airport.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Air Choice One, which offers flights from Jonesboro to Nashville, Tennessee, and St. Louis under a federal program that subsidizes smaller carriers, will operate under the Southern Airways name. It will be included in Southern Airways’ interline ticketing and baggage agreements with American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Southern Airways currently serves 38 cities across the nation, including three locations in Arkansas: Hot Springs, El Dorado and Harrison. The acquisition of Air Choice Once, which has provided services to Jonesboro since 2012, expands it aircraft fleet to nearly 50. 

As part of the deal, Air Choice One CEO Shane Storz will join Southern Airways an executive vice president. Other company leaders and staff will be absorbed into Southern Airways’ current infrastructure, the company said in a news release.

Southern Airways said the acquisition will help strengthen offerings to consumers after the regional carrier SkyWest Airlines of St. George, Utah, announced this month that it was ending service in 29 cities, citing pilot shortages. The U.S. Department of Transportation barred the change from taking effect until replacement carriers could be found.

Skywest operates through partnerships with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Since 2018, Skywest and Southern Airways have partnered on a cadet pilot training program. 

Air Choice One is the fifth airline Southern Airways has acquired since it was founded in 2013. It recently purchased two Hawaii-based airlines, Mokulele Airlines and Makani Kai Air. 

The acquisition of Air Choice One is “yet another example of how Southern quickly adapts to the changing marketplace,” company Chairman & CEO Stan Little said in the release.

“Air Choice One has an incredibly positive reputation; so, combining their leadership team and assets into our company will allow us to quickly respond to the immediate need of providing affordable and reliable air service to more of rural America,” he said.

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