Silver Airways formally announced plans on June 10 to indefinitely suspend beginning non-stop service from Birmingham, AL to Jacksonville, FL and New Orleans, LA less than a week before the flights were scheduled to begin, according to several media outlets. As recently as May 16, the Fort Lauderdale, FL-based company was promoting an airfare sale for the new routes, first announced in April. The company released a statement, referenced by WVTM 13 in their report, stating in part, “[d]espite robust marketing efforts, this market is not able to support flying this route at this time.” Refunds are being offered and the airline’s website still shows the proposed expansion on its route map.
It would have marked the first offers of direct-flight service to the two destinations from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport since Southwest Airlines discontinued serving them in 2013. A similar lack of support within the market was cited by the airline and in a subsequent AL.com report when the plans were announced in late 2012.
Silver also announced plans to not offer direct service between Orlando, FL and Savannah, GA on June 11 (service was set to begin June 23). (though Savannah was already celebrating the return of seasonal direct-flight service via Allegiant Air to several cities in Ohio). It was not the first time the company intended to expand its footprint only to delay and eventually suspend the plans. January saw Silver announce its intention to offer service from St. Pete Clearwater International Airport to Fort Lauderdale and Key West beginning in March. The change in plans (first delaying them, eventually backing out completely) came shortly after the company announced several new appointments: chief financial officer, chief operating officer, and vice president of airports and customer service.
According to an interview the Sun Sentinel conducted with company CEO Sami Teittinen in February, it’s been refocusing its efforts on Florida and the Bahamas in recent months. There is still a presence in the metro Washington, DC area, but it has seen its own share of issues and concerns recently (though efforts to remedy others appear to be working).