GULF SHORES, Alabama – Memphis, Tenn.-based Southern Airways Express will soon begin flying out of Jack Edwards National Airport in Gulf Shores, featuring daily, non-stop service to and from Memphis, New Orleans and Birmingham.
Stan Little, the start-up airline’s chairman and chief executive officer, thanked customers via Facebook late Tuesday for their patience and provided the following update:
“We heard back from the (U.S.) Department of Transportation today, and they want a few minor changes in our corporate documentation before they authorize the website to go live. Please be assured that we are working on these requirements around the clock, as our planes sit in Memphis ready to fly! You have my word that we will be carrying passengers to the beach in the next few days,” Little wrote on the social media website.
Jack Edwards National Airport is a general aviation airport located two miles north of Gulf Shores’ central business district. Repeated attempts by the Press-Register to reach airport authority officials were not immediately successful.
A release issued Wednesday morning by Golf Gulf Shores, the official moniker for the Gulf Shores Golf Association, also indicated Southwest Airlines will begin offering direct flights to Gulf Shores via Pensacola International Airport “later this year,” in a move expected to increase seat capacity by 22 percent.
“These flights are opening up more opportunities for visitors to come to Gulf Shores and experience the many activities the destination offers,” said Gulf Shores Golf Association Executive Director Duncan Millar. “With short flights, cheaper airfare and no baggage fees, this is a perfect option for golfers to spend a weekend away playing a few rounds on our pristine courses.”
The Press-Register has not yet been able to independently confirm Southwest’s plans to add Pensacola to its daily flights.
Dan Shepherd, vice president of Buffalo Communications — a division of Virginia-based Billy Casper Golf — did confirm, however, that Southwest’s flights will originate from both William P. Hobby Airport in Houston and Nashville International Airport and land in Pensacola.
Nine distinct golf courses dot Gulf Shores’ 32 miles of waterfront property, and the association promotes the destination and its custom golf packages.