Southern Airways Corporation, the parent company of commuter airline Southern Airways Express, has announced a strategic minority investment by SkyWest Inc., developing a pilot pathway programme between the companies.

The Florida-based Southern now has more than 200 pilots in its combined pilot corps, and the company said many of those are looking to advance their aviation careers to regional and mainline carriers. The strategic investment by SkyWest will enhance Southern’s recruiting capabilities by providing a career pathway from flight school through Southern’s cadet programme and ultimately to SkyWest.

Southern Airways Express logo

“The airline marketplace is incredibly competitive, and we are pleased with this opportunity to firmly cement our brand alongside the most respected regional industry giant,”said Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern Airways. “Southern Airways is committed to remaining the most reliable and economical carrier in our class and to working with our partners to create win-win solutions like this one.”

“SkyWest is pleased to acquire a minority equity interest in Southern Airways,”said Wade Steel, chief commercial officer of SkyWest, Inc. “Putting a pilot pathway program in place with Southern enhances our pipeline of future Part 121 professional aviators.”

Southern, which has 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. Following the integration of the two airlines, expected to be complete by mid-summer, the new Southern Airways will operate 1,380 weekly flights.

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