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Silver Airways cuts fares between Tupelo, Atlanta

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TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Silver Airways will offer one-way tickets between Tupelo and Atlanta for $48, plus tax, beginning by the end of the month.

Such tickets currently cost between $55 and $166, depending on the day of departure.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/1cifiXR) reports the fare reduction comes on the heels of Silver's decision to reduce the number of weekly flights from 36 to 24, starting March 3.

Tupelo officials had asked the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based airline to reduce the number of flights in hopes of improving Silver's performance, which has been fraught with cancellations and delays since its service began 16 months ago.

Passenger boardings have plummeted since Silver began service in October 2012. Boardings fell to 5,331 last year, a 31 percent drop from a year earlier and the lowest total in some three decades. In January, there were only 340 boardings, a 7 percent drop compared to a year earlier. Some of the change is due to the reduction in the number of flights.

Silver is being paid a $7 million annual subsidy through the federal Essential Air Service program to provide air service for Tupelo, Greenville, Hattiesburg/Laurel and Meridian.

Silver announced Friday it was ending service between Cleveland, Ohio, and five smaller cities - Jamestown, N.Y.; Bradford, DuBois and Franklin, Pa.; and Parkersburg, W.Va., on May 15.

Dave Pflieger, president and CEO of Silver Airways, said in a news release that "multiple factors have combined to make it economically impossible for us to continue flying" between Cleveland and the five markets.

Silver Airways will retire its fleet of five remaining Beech 1900D aircraft and will "retrain or redeploy the Cleveland-based pilots and maintenance workers for our core fleet of 28 advanced Saab 340B Plus aircraft used in other markets."

Tupelo Regional Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson said the change will help Silver's pilot shortage and also save the company some operating expenses.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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