“A New Orleans-based carrier new to the scene could unlock more routes for Memphis International Airport.
GLO, a startup airline founded in 2013, announced 12 weekly nonstop flights between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Memphis to begin in November.
GLO founder Trey Fayard said that Memphis was the first airport signed in GLO’s route structure, and the city will continue to be a focal point.
“If you look at a circle around Memphis of 500 to 600 miles, those are opportunities for us to try to expand our presence,” he said. “With our model, we see several convenient locations through Memphis that would be a nice fit with our clients and offerings.”
With the addition, Memphis International is reconnected with the New Orleans airport. Delta Air Lines dropped the flight in January.
Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, said that smaller, start-up airlines like GLO and newly snagged OneJet, which intends to connect FedEx employees with the Midwest hub in Indianapolis, are part of a “back to the future strategy.”
“What could happen with some of these smaller carriers like GLO is they could end up building a route network in Memphis,” Brockman added. “When they build that network, they look at doing relationships with the large carriers so you can do two-plane ticketing. If you fly on two different airlines, it’s treated as one ticket so they end up with code-shares and other things, like a lot of U.S. carriers do with Europe.”
GLO is the Memphis airport’s 11th air carrier and New Orleans is its 41st destination. The airport’s rapid growth this year is partly helped by the airport authority’s revamped Community Air Service Development Incentive Policy, which was changed to be more flexible and therefore attract a variety of airline sizes and destinations.
Fayard said his airline will focus on regional cities that are a five- to eight-hour drive from Memphis with the aim of boosting the day-long business trip in the regional economy.
Like a corporate-style jet, the 30-passenger Saab 340B aircrafts will offer a private flying experience with ample legroom, snacks and flight attendants.
On weekdays, flights bound for Memphis will depart from New Orleans at 7:55 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Flights bound for New Orleans will depart from Memphis at 10 a.m. and 4:25 p.m.
On Saturday, the Memphis-bound flight leaves Louis Armstrong International at 7:55 a.m. and heads back to the Big Easy at 10 a.m. On Sunday, the route departs New Orleans at 2:15 p.m. and departs Memphis at 4:25 p.m.
Air service will begin in November with introductory one-way fares of $189.
“That’s the exciting part,” Brockman said. “Where do we work with them to grow from here?”