According to Order 2016-12-9 issued today by the Department of Transportation, DOT has selected Southern Airways Express, LLC (Southern) to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) at El Dorado/Camden (El Dorado), Harrison, and Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Southern will provide El Dorado with 18 weekly nonstop round trips to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) for an annual subsidy of $2,306,627. The carrier will provide Harrison with 12 weekly nonstop round trips to DFW and 6 weekly nonstop round trips to Memphis International Airport for $2,397,188 annually. Finally, Southern will provide Hot Springs with 18 weekly nonstop round trips to DFW for $2,378,312 in annual subsidy. Service will be provided with nine-seat Cessna Caravan aircraft and the term of service will run from January 1, 2017, through February 28, 2019.
SeaPort Airlines, Inc. (SeaPort) was selected to provide EAS at all three communities on August 23, 2013 with nine-seat Cessna Caravan aircraft. On February 6, 2016, SeaPort filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, but continued to operate at all three communities. On September 20, 2016, SeaPort’s Chapter 11 protection was converted to Chapter 7 (liquidation) and SeaPort immediately discontinued all operations.
By Order 2016-9-16 (September 21, 2016), DOT issued an emergency request for proposals at the three Arkansas communities. Aerodynamics, Inc. (ADI), Multi-Aero, Inc. d/b/a Air Choice One, Boutique Air, Corporate Flight Management (Contour Airlines), Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. (Great Lakes), Silver Airways, and Southern submitted proposals.