Control of the Jackson-Medgar Evers Wiley International Airport remains in limbo, as the current board works to attract more carriers and expand its list of destinations.
Mississippi-based Southern Airways Express is adding Memphis, Nashville and Destin, to its list of flights out of Jackson's International Airport beginning September 26. CEO Stan Little.
"Jackson really now has become one of the primary focus cities of the airline at least in our Gulf region," said Little.
The news comes as the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority and the City of Jackson are in a legal battle against the state over a law that would dissolve the airport authority. Instead, a nine member board would take its place with representatives included from Madison and Rankin Counties, as well as Jackson. JMAA has been criticized for not attracting more carriers. The Federal Aviation Administration says the dispute has to be resolved before the law can take effect. Rosie Pridgen, Chair of JMAA's Board of Commissioners, isn't sure whether Southern's expansion will help but says it couldn't hurt.
"Any activity that's positive it could not hurt. So, certainly we're elated about this announcement," said Pridgen.
Governor Phil Bryant attended the news conference. He says the added flights enhance opportunities for economic development. But he stands by the law, which some have called an airport takeover.
"I think we're adding to the board. We're creating a new board that will have more representation from people within the area of Jackson. But I think it's fair for Madison and Rankin Counties to have representation on these boards. We're trying to be more inclusive in this business environment," said Bryant.
Commissioner Rosie Pridgen says a federal judge has delayed any appointment of board members until a hearing is scheduled.