Category Archives: Southern Airways Express

Alaska adds Mokulele to its Mileage Plan, Mokulele adds a 2nd SAAB 340B

Alaska Airlines has a new enhanced partnership with Mokulele Airlines, the newest Mileage Plan partner, starting in early 2023.

Mokulele is the only carrier in Hawaii with regularly scheduled service to Lanai and Molokai.

Mokulele Airlines has operated for nearly 30 years. The company is owned by Southern Airways,which is the largest commuter airline in the U.S.

In November, Southern will add a second 28-seat SAAB 340B aircraft to Mokulele’s overall fleet as part of its expansion.

Airline photo: N679PA landed at Oahu on June 28, 2022.

Mokulele serves 10 destinations in Hawaii: Honolulu on Oahu; Hana, Kahului and Kapalua on Maui; Hilo, WaimeaKohala and Kona on Hawaii Island; Lanai City on Lanai; Kalaupapa and Hoolehua on Molokai.

Route Map:


Alaska has flown to Hawaii for 15 years. The carrier launched its first flight between Seattle and Honolulu on Oct. 12, 2007. Service between Seattle and Lihue, Kauai, started two weeks later, followed by Anchorage-Honolulu service in December 2007. In 2008, Alaska began serving Kona on the Island of Hawaii and Kahului on Maui.

Mokulele Airlines talks about the SAAB 340B addition:

Since 2021, Mokulele has been the sole provider of scheduled air service to both islands after Hawaiian’s Ohana division was shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ohana offered inter-island flights on 46 seat ATR-42 aircraft, which complimented our services at Mokulele for years. We never expected to be “the last guy standing”, but we took the responsibility seriously.

The leadership team at Southern Airways Express, owners of Mokulele, went to work. Some of our executives came from larger regional airlines with experience in turboprops, and their familiarity with the choices led us to acquire two Saab 340B Plus aircraft. The Saab 340 is a twin engine turboprop, with seating up to 34 (we are limited to just 30), with plenty of room in cargo for super large & bulky items (including wheelchairs). The pressurized cabin offers air conditioning and overhead bins, as well as a flight attendant, galley, and lavatory.

We also feel that the 30 seat airplane is a solid choice for the marketplace, as we won’t be putting excess seats (example: Island Air was flying 70 seat ATR 72s, which was just too big for Molokai at times; and Mokulele previously operated the 72 seat Embraer 170 jets inter-island).

The planes will be operating this summer, with 2 flights a day to Lana’i and Moloka’i from Honolulu as Southern Airways Express under a Public Charter authority. This means all funds are placed into a special bank account until the flight operates, as the flight operates as a ‘shared charter’. This is the same premise as JetsuiteX and Contour Airlines on the mainland operate. It basicly means we can’t spend the money you paid today for your flight, when you aren’t flying until September.

Flights will be displayed differently in our booking engine, so travelers will be able to see when the larger plane is operating.





Southern Airways Express to use the main terminal in Atlanta

Southern Airways Express started the EAS-subsidized Jackson, TN – Atlanta route in June. Because Jackson did not have TSA screening the flights were forced to arrive and depart at  the Signature Flight Support FBO terminal at ATL.

That will change on September 22 when Jackson will begin to receive TSA screening.

The Southern name will now return to the ATL main terminal. Southern is now expected to use Concourse E at ATL once TSA screening commences.

Southern Airways Express aircrtaft photo gallery:

Surf Air to acquire Southern Airways Express

Surf Air Mobility, a company working to accelerate the adoption of green aviation, has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approval, which will result in a merger with Southern Airways Corporation, parent company of one of America’s largest commuter airlines.

Southern Airways serves 39 cities across the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf South, Rocky Mountains, West Coast, New England, Hawaii, and soon the Far Pacific. The merger will establish the Company as the country’s leading air mobility platform with scheduled routes and on-demand charter flights operated by Southern and other third-party operators.

The definitive agreement coincides with Surf Air Mobility’s announcement that it plans to go public through a merger with Tuscan Holdings Corp. II, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain closing conditions.

The merger with Southern Airways, along with its affiliated brand, Mokulele Airlines, will enable the combined companies to create a national air travel platform and to accelerate efforts to commercialize hybrid electric aircraft. The ability to serve more consumers through the integration with Southern, the largest passenger operator of Cessna Caravans in North America, provides Surf Air with a powerful foundation to introduce its proprietary electrified powertrain technology to the market.

Surf Air Mobility intends to upgrade Southern’s current fleet of nearly 40 Cessna Grand Caravans to hybrid electric aircraft using technology developed along with magniX and AeroTEC, two pioneers and market leaders in aviation innovation and electrification. Cessna Grand Caravans are the most prolific aircraft in their category, with over 2,800 delivered.

Southern Airways Express route map:

About Surf Air Mobility

Surf Air Mobility is a Los Angeles-based electric aviation and air travel company reinventing flying through the power of electrification. The company will bring electrified aircraft to market at scale in order to substantially reduce the cost and environmental impact of flying. The management team has deep experience and expertise across aviation, electrification, and consumer technology. Surf Air Mobility is the parent company of Surf Air Inc, and has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Southern Airways Corporation.

About Southern Airways Corporation

Founded in 2013, Southern Airways Express is one of the largest commuter airlines in the United States. Operating a fleet of Cessna Caravans and King Air Super 200s, among other fleet types, Southern and its Hawaiian subsidiary, Mokulele Airlines, serve 39 cities with more than 240 peak-day departures from hubs at Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Honolulu, Kahului, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nantucket, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Washington-Dulles. In Hawai‘i, Mokulele serves more airports with more flights than any other airline. Southern has interline agreements with American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

Southern Airways Express aircraft photo gallery:

Southern Airways Express acquires Air Choice One

Southern Airways Express has announced it is acquiring Air Choice One (St. Louis):

Southern Airways Express, one of the largest commuter airlines in America, has acquired St. Louis-based Air Choice One (Multi-Aero, Inc.). The move will strengthen the Essential Air Service offerings to the marketplace on the heels of the recent announcements of regional airline SkyWest and commuter airline Boutique’s intention to terminate service to at least 31 cities in the program.

This is Southern’s fifth airline acquisition in the last eight years. Southern was founded in Memphis, Tenn. in 2013 and has since grown into one of the largest commuter airlines in America. Now serving 38 cities from Nantucket to Honolulu, Southern has consistently ranked as one of the most reliable and on-time airlines in the nation. In 2021, excluding weather, Southern completed 99.3% of its nearly 64,000 scheduled flights.

The addition of Air Choice One grows Southern’s fleet size to nearly 50 aircraft and increases the number of pilots that Southern flows to the larger carriers. Since 2018, Southern and SkyWest have partnered to build the most successful pilot cadet program in the country, soon to be creating hundreds of pilots per year for the industry.

As part of the acquisition, Air Choice One CEO Shane Storz will join Southern as an executive vice president. In addition to decades of industry experience, he will bring a leadership team and other support staff that will be absorbed into Southern’s current infrastructure, allowing for safe, strong, and healthy growth over the ensuing months and years.

Air Choice One currently has one contract in the Essential Air service program: Jonesboro, Ark. Service from Jonesboro will be rebranded as Southern, allowing the city to enjoy Southern’s interline connectivity to major carriers. Southern has interline ticketing and baggage agreements with American, United and Alaska Airlines.

In addition to the immediate benefits, growing Southern’s fleet size further enhances the airline’s commitment to sustainable aviation. Southern has agreements with multiple technology companies to retrofit its aircraft with hybrid-electric, electric, and hydrogen-powered engines once those technologies are approved for commercial use, making Southern the worldwide leader in the next generation of passenger air service.

In 1979, Multi-Aero, Inc. d/b/a Air Choice One was established in St. Louis, Missouri, as an innovative and multi-faceted aviation company. Air Choice One is a family-owned and operated company with over 60 years of combined Aviation experience!

We can provide rural communities the convenience to connect to the national transportation system via international airport hubs such as St. Louis Lambert (STL) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD). This connection allows our passengers to connect to other airline flights or get to their desired destination.

Southern Airways Express launches Essential Air Service to Dulles International Airport

MWAA issued this statement:

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on Monday celebrated the launch of Southern Airways Express’ new Essential Air Service providing flights to Dulles International Airport (IAD) from four Mid-Atlantic Region communities.

The Pompano Beach, Florida-based scheduled service commuter airline, which serves more than 30 cities across the country, will operate up to 12 daily flights to Dulles International from Bradford Regional Airport (BFD), DuBois Regional Airport (DUJ) and Lancaster Airport (LNS) in Pennsylvania, as well as Morgantown Municipal Airport (MGW) in West Virginia, under an Essential Air Service agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Now with multiple daily nonstop flights to the leading international airport in the National Capital Region, residents in these Pennsylvania and West Virginia communities will have one-stop access to more than 150 destinations both stateside and across the globe.

The airline will operate nine-seat Cessna Caravan aircraft on all Dulles International routes.

Southern Airways Express adds more flights from Branson

Southern Airways Express on June 1 is adding another route from  the vacation destination of Harrison/Branson to Hot Springs, AR.

This is in addition  to the two existing routes to Memphis  and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Regional Route Map:

Southern Airways Express to fly to Nantucket this summer

Southern Airways Express has announced it will open summer seasonal service to Nantucket, MA from Norwood, Providence and New Haven.

The seasonal service to the island will operate from June 13 through October 14 mainly from Thursday through Monday, except New Haven which will operate Friday through Sunday.

Entire Route Map:

SkyWest invests in Southern Airways Express, new pilot pipeline established

Southern Airways Corporation, the parent company of Southern Airways Express and Mokulele Airlines, has announced a strategic minority investment by SkyWest, Inc.

Southern now has more than 200 pilots in its combined pilot corps, many of whom are looking to advance their aviation careers to regional and mainline carriers.

SkyWest is the largest regional carrier in the world as measured by fleet size, number of passengers carried and cities served. This strategic investment by SkyWest will enhance Southern’s recruiting capabilities by providing a career pathway from flight school through Southern’s cadet program and ultimately to SkyWest.

Southern, with operational footprints in the Gulf South, the mid-Atlantic and South Florida, recently acquired Mokulele Airlines, a carrier providing service throughout the Hawaiian Islands and in Southern California.

Southern began service in 2013 by offering flights from Memphis, Tenn. to Destin, Fla. using a total of four pilots and three aircraft. In 2015, Southern acquired Executive Express Aviation, an Illinois-based charter company that was previously contracted to operate the Southern flight schedule. In February 2016, Southern acquired Sun Air Express, an airline operating Essential Air Service (EAS) routes in the mid-Atlantic. Three years later, in February of 2019, Southern acquired Mokulele. Following the integration of the two airlines, expected to be complete by mid-summer, the new Southern Airways will operate 1,380 weekly flights, more than any other carrier in the 50 states.
Route Map:

Southern Airways Express acquires Mokulele Airlines

Mokulele Airlines Cessna 208B Grand Caravan N829JP (msn 2429) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945684.

Southern Airways Express, operator of 600 weekly flights across 20 cities, has acquired Hawaiian-based Mokulele Airlines. The deal is Southern’s third in the last four years, firmly cementing itself as America’s fastest growing airline.

With established footprints in the Gulf South, the mid-Atlantic, and South Florida, Southern now adds Hawaii and California to its portfolio. Following the integration of the two airlines, the combined entity will operate 1,380 weekly flights, more than any other commuter airline in the 50 states. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Southern began in 2013 by offering flights from Memphis, Tenn. to Destin, Fla. using a total of four pilots and three aircraft. In 2015, Southern acquired Executive Express Aviation, the Illinois-based charter company that was previously contracted to operate Southern’s flight schedule. In February 2016, Southern acquired Sun Air Express, a commuter airline operating Essential Air Service (EAS) contracts in the mid-Atlantic. Today, Southern still operates routes in those original Sun Air-served Pennsylvania and Maryland communities, plus three additional cities in the mid-Atlantic, along with three EAS cities in Arkansas. In November 2018, Southern launched service between Palm Beach, Tampa, and Key West, replacing routes abandoned by Silver Airways.

Mokulele Airlines, founded in 1994 by Rebecca “Kawehi”Inaba, was the first airline started by a native Hawaiian woman. The airline was sold in 2005 and had multiple ownership changes, until it found stability with its latest ownership group, Transpac Aviation, Inc. Since 2011, Mokulele has grown to 15 aircraft serving 11 cities, including four EAS communities. Mokulele currently operates 787 weekly departures.

One of Southern’s goals for the expanded company will be to obtain additional interline ticket and baggage agreements with major carriers. Southern has interline agreements with American Airlines and Condor Airlines, while Mokulele has agreements with Alaska Airlines and Air New Zealand. Expanding those partnerships to include multiple national and global carriers will be the focus post-integration.


Unlike Southern’s previous two acquisitions, which included name changes and rebranding, Southern intends to keep the Mokulele brand alive and well in the Hawaiian Islands, while eventually operating all flights on the Southern Airways FAA operating certificate.

Southern is coming off a record-setting year for passenger growth in its Essential Air Service cities with some communities seeing 40 percent increases in traffic over the previous year, and many airports having had their best year for enplanements in more than a decade. Southern has also posted some of the best performance statistics in the industry, completing over 99 percent of its scheduled EAS flights in the last six months.

Founded in 2013, Southern Airways Express has quickly grown to become the largest commuter airline in the 50 states. Operating a fleet of Cessna Caravans and Grand Caravans, Southern will soon serve 30 cities with more than 220 peak-day departures from hubs at Baltimore, Dallas/Ft.Worth, Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, Memphis, Palm Beach and Pittsburgh.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airlines): Mokulele Airlines Cessna 208B Grand Caravan N829JP (msn 2429) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945684.

Mokulele aircraft slide show: