Surprise Turn Around for Jonesboro Airport

July 1, 2004 -- Posted 8:00 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- City, state and federal officials are resting easy, as the Jonesboro Airport will continue servicing the people of Northeast Arkansas.

Earlier this week, the Department of Transportation had tentatively decided to eliminate funding for the Jonesboro Airport, which is issued through the Essential Air Service Program. But on Thursday, in a surprise move, the D-O-T reversed its decision.

"Our very elaborate campaign was about to get started, writing letters, showing concern, this is a very critical issue," said Airport Commission Chairman Wallace Fowler.

A critical issue indeed, and luckily for the residents of Jonesboro, The Department of Transportation incorrectly calculated this year's figures, forcing them, as a result, to reverse their previous decision not to fund the airport.

"Our congressional delegation in Washington did a terrific job working with the D-O-T," said Fowler.

"We had asked the FAA to reevaluate it, look at it, see if there wasn't anyway that they could keep it going," said Congressman Marion Berry.

While the city of Jonesboro may be in the clear this time, there is still concern that there will be future financial problems, and now officials are trying to figure out ways to have people fly from Jonesboro.

"It has certainly made me more aware of it," said Berry. "If I'm going to be going West then it's something I'll look at."

"When the next budget comes up we'll have the same issues that we've had in the past," said Fowler.

Perhaps something we should all consider before booking our next flight.