Airport Upgrades

With passengers lined back to back, business is booming at Meridian Regional Airport. Thanks to an increase in ridership, early next year the airport will add a fourth flight.

"The fourth flight will be in the mid-morning," says Tom Williams

Williams is president of the Meridian Airport Authority. Over the past year, he says ridership at the airport has increased by almost 30 percent with almost all 50 seats full on each flight and many people on standby. He says an increase in the number of locals using the airport is greatly responsible.

"We can tell that we're getting local passengers by the parking revenue. The money that we're making off our parking lot, it's increased dramatically since we've got jet service on this flight."

Here are the numbers. Within the past year, parking revenues at the airport have increased by more than 50 percent, while rental car revenues, which generally indicate the number of people flying into the city, have remained pretty much the same. As for why there's been somewhat of a stalemate in incoming travelers, Williams thinks he knows the reason.

"We think the main reason is because we haven't had a flight in the mid-morning. So this flight fills the gap. We think we'll see a further increase in traffic because we'll be getting more business travelers coming to Meridian that way."

The additional flight will begin on February 1.