Appreciation event for Southern

Mark Cestari, chief commercial officer for Southern Airways Express, and Alicia Dankesreiter, Bradford Regional Airport Manager, right, congratulate Kathy Brooks of Austin, for winning the grand prize in a random drawing.

MOUNT ALTON — Officials of Southern Airways Express and the Bradford Regional Airport were extremely pleased with the large crowd that attended the airline’s second Customer Appreciation Party Tuesday at the Lafayette Township facility.

This annual event featured live entertainment by Tony Pearl, door prizes, ticket giveaways, craft beer tasting by Logyard Brewery and BBQs from CJs, as well as hors d’oeuvres at a welcome reception.

Mark Cestari, chief commercial officer for Southern, the low-fare regional commuter airline offering daily non-stop service to the Pittsburgh International Airport, said, “We’ve heard amazing stories from our Bradford passengers. After five years, we’re still excited about our partnership with the community.”

“Today’s turnout is beyond what we expected,” said Airport Manager Alicia Dankesreiter. “We planned for 200 guests, but have exceeded 300.”

In his welcoming comments, Cestari polled the audience to see how many had flown on the airline. An impressive number of the audience responded by raising their hands.

In speaking with The Era, Cestari touted Southern’s latest statistics on standards of service, saying, “In the last four months, we have achieved a 99.9 percent rate of completing flights on time, and this puts us in the top three in the airline industry against the larger carriers.”

According to Cestari, Southern’s interline agreement with American Airlines is showing increased passenger traffic for American Airlines. “Since March, the number of Bradford passengers flying to Pittsburgh and connecting with American went from 30 to 40 percent.”

Southern’s interline agreement provides seamless connections, a single point check-in at the local airport for the entire trip and baggage to the final destination — from Bradford to any Southern-served city or American’s destinations across the globe. Southern has a similar agreement with Condor Airlines, a German carrier with service from Pittsburgh to the airline’s hub in Frankfurt.

Cestari introduced Southern’s local personnel including Ryan Dach, Southern’s director of stations and Bradford station manager.

Kathy Brooks of Austin won the event’s grand prize: two round-trip tickets from Bradford to Pittsburgh and then on to New Orleans for a two-night hotel stay.