CHAIRMAN’s LETTER, CloudNine Magazine

Spring 2023

Wow—what a winter!  No snow in New York City (at least by February 1st) and seemingly nothing but rain in California and Arizona.  Most folks in America would think that might be fine for air travel, but in reality, we need it cold up north and dry out west.  The worst conditions for commuter airlines involve weather that’s wet and mild—it means icing conditions at our flying altitudes.

For those of you who’ve experienced a cancellation or delay due to weather this winter, please know, it’s as unpleasant for us as it is for you.  We hate delays and cancels, but our number one priority is your safety.  So, we’d rather fly you the next day than take any unnecessary risks.  Southern and Mokulele have a perfect safety record over our decade in the business, and we aim to maintain that.

Sometimes it’s especially frustrating, because you may be sitting at the airport looking at cloudy, grey skies, wondering “why can’t we fly?”  For commuter airlines (unlike the larger carriers), we frequently have to be mindful of SLD’s – Supercooled Large Droplets.  These are essentially giant raindrops in the lower atmosphere which are so cold that they actually turn to ice immediately upon hitting the airplane.  Picture a water balloon hitting your windshield at 200mph and then freezing!  A large jetliner can get above them, but we have to fly through them!

Our 24/7/365 teams at our Global Operations Center in Palm Beach and Regional Operations Center in Kona are constantly monitoring these phenomena from November through April, and it’s extremely frustrating when we have to cancel a flight because of them.  Please know that no one wants to fly more than our pilots and our management— so if there’s ever a delay or cancel, it’s only for your safety!

That being said, Spring is around the corner, and we get to say goodbye to SLD’s for several months.  (And next winter, we’re bringing online more Saab 340 planes across the continent which can fly above the SLD’s.)

Spring means warmer weather (everywhere), surfing (in Hawaii, California, and even Muskegon), beach days (in Nantucket), canoeing (in West Virginia), hiking (in Colorado), baseball (in nine of our hub cities), and a general feeling of renewal in all 54 Southern Airways hometowns.  Personally, I can’t wait…

Thanks, as always, for flying Southern Airways and Mokulele Airlines.

Stan Little

Chairman and CEO