Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Southern Airways Express landed Monday afternoon at the Lakefront Airport.

Customers will soon be able to book a flight on this new commuter airline to Destin, Panama City Beach, Gulf Shores, Memphis, Jackson and Birmingham.

Southern Airways CEO Stan Little says New Orleans is important to his company's business plan.

'You're a destination city in addition to being an outbound city,' said Little. 'We get calls every day from people who want to know, when can I fly to New Orleans?'

Southern Airways will be the first commercial airline to operate out of Lakefront Airport since 1946. A two-year renovation project is now underway to reclaim the old glory of the airport's art deco main terminal building.

The work could also help attract additional new business to the airport.

Back in the day, the-then Shushan Airport was the place to catch a plane in New Orleans.

Retired pilot William Rheems is happy to see new activity at the lakefront.

'When the terminal is finally finished and they get it and the restaurant back and they get everything else operating, then it will take on a whole new complexion,' said Rheems. 'We're all waiting for that to happen.'

For now, Southern Airways will be using Flightline First, one of the fixed-base operators at the airport.

But company officials are optimistic that the airline will be successful enough to use the larger main terminal building sometime in the future.

'This historic terminal over here symbolizes what we're all about with our concept of air travel and that is taking travel on airplanes back to the days when it was fun,' said Little.

Southern Airways promises no baggage or parking fees and no TSA security checks.

All flights on Southern Airways Express are non-stop. Fares range from $129 to $249 each way.

Read or Share this story: