Southern Airways Express (9X, Memphis Int'l) has clinched a two-year contract from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide the Essential Air Service (EAS) at Chadron, Nebraska, using nine-seat Beech (twin turboprop) King Air 200 aircraft.

Starting June 1, 2021, through May 30, 2023, Southern Airways Express will provide 12 weekly round trips from Chadron to Denver Int'l at a first-year annual subsidy of USD2.7 million and a second-year annual subsidy of USD2.8 million.

The DOT has ordered Boutique Air (4B, San Francisco, CA) - whose two-year EAS contract at Chadron ended on May 31, 2021 - to continue providing the service until Southern Airways Express takes over. Boutique Air is using a nine-seat PC-12. During the extension period, it will continue to receive an annual subsidy rate. The carrier had received USD2.4 million in year one and USD2.5 million in year two.

Airlines who had applied for the new contract included Boutique Air, Key Lime Air (KG, Denver Centennial) doing business as Denver Air Connection (KG, Denver Centennial), and Southern Airways Express. The Chadron City Council unanimously supported the latter's proposal.