MRA Flying High

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The Meridian Regional Airport has been experiencing tremendous growth over the past several months. It's primarily attributed to the recent addition of the Delta jet service.

"We knew that when we got the jets that the public had to support it, and they have," said Tom Williams, CEO of the Meridian Airport Authority. "It looks like the level of support may lead to a fourth flight. Certainly by the end of this year, hopefully, a lot sooner than that."

The month of February saw a 50-percent increase in the number of passengers over the previous year. Airport officials expect the same for this month. And they say as temperatures rise this summer, so will the number of passengers boarding planes in Meridian.

"I think we are going to see a great growth through the summer, and when we get that fourth flight, that will help again because we have a little gap in the schedule that it will fill," Williams said.

Before getting the jet service, passengers in Meridian could fly to Atlanta or Dallas, but the only current option is Atlanta.

"Our strategy right now is to grow Atlanta so the fourth flight will be to Atlanta. After those four flights are working well, then we'll talk about Dallas," said Williams. "But we're probably a year away from that conversation."

As for expanding past Dallas and Atlanta, Williams said it's a possibility, but not in the immediate future.

"I think Atlanta and Dallas covers us very well. I think if we could get another airline into Memphis at some point that would be nice, just because they handle the Midwest and up into Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota pretty well," Williams said.

Other future plans for the Meridian Regional Airport include building a new terminal that will support the larger planes and more passengers.