Gulfstream gets the nod for Shoals service

Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 19:51 by Aviation Correspondent

A new carrier is to begin services to Shoals, after several bids and months of consideration by the Shoals Chamber of Commerce’s Air Services Committee. It will be the Gulfstream Airlines that would be flying out of Fort Lauderdale. Gulfstream was one of four airlines to submit bids for the contract at Muscle Shoals.

The airline will provide non-stop flights to Memphis International Airport. Gulfstream comes in place of Delta which shuttles between Muscle Shoals and Atlanta. The airline is hoping to begin services to the Shoals by the next three months. Delta has agreed to stay at Shoals until Gulfstream is ready to launch service.

Gulfstream won the contract worth $2.5 million to provide air service from Northwest Alabama Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals from the US Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service Program. The Department of Transportation told that Gulfstream received uncompromising community support while other contenders received none.

The airline will offer three non-stop flights to Memphis, on weekdays and Saturdays and two on Sundays. Gulfstream will fly a 19-seat Beech twin-turboprop aircraft on the route.

Air Choice One and SeaPort Airlines provided flights with a nine-seater aircraft. Another airline, Charter Air, offered flights on a 30-seat aircraft, but was not authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to provide commercial air service.

Gulfstream recently came through Bankruptcy reorganization and was fit to provide air service in Muscle Shoals. Last year the airline also was fined $550,000 for violations that included the improper scheduling of flight crew duty time. But now the Federal Aviation authorities have granted the Gulfstream fitness certificates for the service.

Gulfstream has code sharing agreements with Continental Airlines, which recently merged with United to form the largest carrier in the world. The airline is also in talks with Delta for code sharing in the Memphis route.

From the airport’s part there are only a few modifications including a lease agreement for the ticket counter and a fuel sales agreement similar to that of Delta’s.

Shoals Chamber of Commerce and airport officials are very keen on welcoming the new airline and making it a success.

Gulfstream is based in Dania Beach, Florida. It operates scheduled and charter services to 25 destinations across Florida and Bahamas and the Caribbean with a fleet of 23 airplanes.

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