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Silver Airways to realign fleet to strengthen its Cleveland network as it exits Montana

by Steve Bennett | Jun 28, 2013
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – June 28, 2013
As part of its plan to strengthen its presence and operations in its key markets, Silver Airways today announced that it will cease its Montana operations and redeploy its Beech 1900D assets from there to its Cleveland network. 
“While Silver Airways has been very proud to serve the people of the great state of Montana over the past two years, we have informed the Department of Transportation (DOT) that we will not be bidding on its EAS routes when the bids are due July 2,” said Dave Pflieger, the airline’s President & CEO.
With its two-year contract term having expired in May, Silver Airways has provided the DOT with the required public notice of its intent to discontinue scheduled subsidized Essential Air Service (EAS) between eight Montana communities: Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Lewistown, Miles City, Sidney, Wolf Point and Billings.
The announcement comes on the heels of the DOT’s decision to eliminate subsidized service in two Montana communities, Lewistown and Miles City. Commensurate with the end of their subsidy eligibility, Silver Airways will discontinue its service to these two communities on July 15, 2013.
“The DOT’s recent announcement, coupled with our decision to focus Beech 1900 flying in Cleveland with its nearby maintenance base, made it a logical move to realign our remaining Beech 1900D assets to strengthen our United Express operations and Cleveland network,” said Pflieger.
To ensure no interruption of service and a smooth transition for the flying public in Montana’s remaining EAS-subsidized markets, the airline will continue its operations there until such time as the DOT awards subsidies to another airline and the new carrier is able to start service to those communities. The DOT has announced it will accept bids for replacement service in Montana through July 2, 2013.
“These are great routes, and we remain very interested in EAS flying. Unfortunately, these Montana-based routes are primarily serviced with the Beech 1900 fleet that are far from our primary networks and maintenance stations and continued operations there no longer makes sense for our business model. “
In an internal announcement to its Montana-based employees, the airline confirmed that as a result of its plan to exit Montana all employees in good standing who want to remain with Silver Airways will be offered employment opportunities elsewhere in its network and no pilots will be furloughed.
“Like their over 800 colleagues, our Montana-based team members are terrific employees. They have run a reliable, on-time operation and have provided exceptional customer service for the two years we have been fortunate to serve the state. They are to be commended for their service, and we are proud of them. We have positions open elsewhere in the network for everyone who is interested and we hope they choose to continue their careers with Silver Airways,” said Pflieger. Silver Airways employs 49 people in Montana.
“Our focus remains on flying a safe, reliable, customer-focused airline,” said Pflieger. “The plans announced today are a necessary and important component of an overall strategy to improve our fleet performance and strengthen our network, so we can ensure our success and be a great employer and community partner.”
As noted on its official web site (see http://www.dot.gov), the DOT will be accepting bids for replacement service in Montana through July 2, 2013. Silver Airways’ two-year EAS contract covering service in Montana began in May, 2011.

 

About Silver Airways (www.SilverAirways.com)

Silver Airways Corp. (IATA: 3M) is a U.S. owned and operated airline operating almost 200 daily scheduled flights to/from 47 gateways in Florida, the Bahamas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Montana.

Silver Airways is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and operates under a principal code share and alliance agreement with United Airlines. The Silver Airways fleet is comprised of 25 Saab 340B plus aircraft (with a capacity of 34 passengers in a spacious, noise reduction equipped cabin), each powered by highly reliable, fuel-efficient GE jet-turbine propeller engines. The airline also operates 10 Beechcraft 1900D aircraft (maximum seating capacity: 19 passengers). (The Beech 1900s currently operate in the airline’s Cleveland and Montana networks).

Silver Airways was named a recipient of Air Transport World’s (ATW) 2013 Regional Airline of the Year Award, and, in doing so, was the first U.S. airline to win regional aviation’s top honor since 2008. This award recognized Silver’s outstanding achievements as well as the company’s contributions toward elevating the entire regional aviation industry overall.

The company is privately owned by Victory Park Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm that launched the airline in May 2011.