The Chair of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority continues to decry a bill that would do away with her Commission. MPB's Ezra Wall reports.
The Authority overseeing Hawkins Field airport and the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport is the subject of a bill making its way through the legislature. Senate Bill 2162 would replace the current airport board with a nine-member commission. Of those 9 members, only two would be appointed by the city of Jackson. But three other members, appointed by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, must also live in the capital city. Opponents of the measure say it amounts to a hostile takeover. Supporters say a regional commission could do a better job managing the airports - citing the departure of low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines. Rosie Pridgen chairs the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority.
"Southwest went on to implement its own international business model, to use these airplanes and these pilots to go into more lucrative markets. And Jackson was not the only market that was impacted. They pulled their planes from other markets as well," says Pridgen.
Senator Josh Harkins wrote the airport bill. The Flowood Republican previously told MPB News an airport like Jackson-Evers that serves regional customers should be run by a regional board.
"When you have citizens that are driving from Jackson to New Orleans or Memphis and flying, the last four years I haven't seen anything from the airport Board or the city asking us to help with incentives to help lure back airlines or, 'Hey, can you help us participate with something to get another low-cost carrier in here?' So, to me, I just think it's time to have a regional board on there," says Harkins.
Senate Bill 2162 has passed both chambers and is waiting for the Senate to accept the final version before sending it to Governor Phil Bryant.