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Jackson Evers Airport Adds Jetbridges for Increase in Travelers

By Daniel Cherry | Published 25 Apr 2011 03:29pm | comments

Mississippi's largest airport is now better equipped to handle their increase in traffic. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how a new $5 million jetbridge project brings Mississippi up to date for air travel standards.

The Jackson Evers International Airport has seen a 2% yearly increase in traffic since 2005. Dirk Vanderleest is the CEO of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority. He says the airport can get a traveler's visit to the Magnolia State off on the right foot.

"We're the first impression and one of the last impressions. So those that are coming here for the first time they're looking to do business in Mississippi, they look at the airport and they look at the conveniences of it. And we made a commitment to accommodate those passengers."

The new jetbridges replace some which had been in use for more than thirty years. Now bridges are at every gate eliminating the need for passengers to go onto the tarmac. Cameron Ware flew in from Dallas.

"To me it seems like it's been there all along. It's awesome, especially with the heat and rain or anything you've got to have a jetbridge. It's a fun experience walking the tarmac once, but after that the excitement is over."

The new jetbridges aren't only a convenience. They bring the airport up to code for handicapped passengers, and they make operations more efficient by reducing time for loading and unloading. Bonnie Wilson, airport Chief Operating Officer says it also will lower the amount of time jets idle.

"They used to run what is called an auxiliary power engine in the back to provide lights and air into the aircraft so it doesn't overheat while it's sitting on the ground, and now that's being provided through here so we're not running jet fuel to operate that."

Wilson says savings by reducing the amount of jet fuel used could eventually trickle down to passengers. In 2010 more than 600,000 passengers used the Jackson Airport. Daniel Cherry MPB News

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