Officials Line Up to Save Passenger Service at Jonesboro Airport

Posted 5:00 p.m. CDT


Jonesboro, AR--A special airport commissioners meeting at the Jonesboro Regional Airport produced no quick fix to the airports pending problems.  The Jonesboro Airport’s only passenger carrier, Mesa Airlines, says they cannot continue service if the Federal Department of Transportation takes away their passenger subsidies.  A decision by the D.O.T is supposed to be made on July 13th.

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            Airline officials along with city leaders are not taking the news sitting down.  They held the special meeting to talk about ways to keep the Mesa passenger service from being grounded.  The meeting lasted slightly more than half an hour.  Most of the meeting was a question and answer session aimed at officials with Mesa.  Mesa official Greg Stephens told those in attendance he was ready to “go to war” in order to keep Mesa in Jonesboro.


            While Jonesboro missed their quota, the news is not all bad.  Federal subsidies for 2003 were about 221 dollars per person.  Twenty-one dollars over the federal limit for an airport like Jonesboro’s.  But for the past twelve months Jonesboro has actually made the quota, but just barely.  For 2003 the statistics show that Jonesboro missed the quota by 430 passengers.  That boils down to less than a passenger and a half a day. 


            While leaders seemed optimistic, they were just as urgent to get something done.  The airport is an important tool in luring industry and business to the city.  Airport Commissioner Mike Medlock expressed everyone’s feelings by saying, “it is extremely important to keep this airline in Jonesboro.”  Something most in attendance would agree with.