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Rural King

Jackson's Regional Airport (McKellar-Sipes) loses Federal Funds

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An article in the Jackson Sun has reported that a 67% drop in passengers has led to McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport to lose 850,000 dollars in federal funding this year, as it failed to meet federal funding requirements of ten thousand out-going passengers . It won't effect the airport's operational funding which comes from the city and county, but will impact the airports ability to expand its runways and update its facilities.

Jackson does have a regional carrier, RegionsAir. The main reason cited for the sharp decline were the times of departing flights and the relative competative costs compared to Memphis. Departure times are being changed though the article states in order to become more competative.

Link to the Jackson Sun Article:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar.../601260309/1002

I would imagine Paducah's airport hurts Jackson's pool of potential passengers as well, as it too offers regional air service and would pull alot form NW TN; places like: Union City, Troy, Martin, Dresden, Paris, etc, if folks are more inclined to travel a similar distance to Paducah for times and prices competative or better than those found in Jackson. If Union City's Everett-Stewart Airport upon gaining regional status in the coming years (its in the works) gains some regional flights look for more of a pinch on Jackson's airport.

So what does anyone else think? Can Jackson continue to serve continue as the regional hub for most of West Tennessee outside of Memphis, or will Paducah, KY and potentially Union City cut into its role, and make its regional pull smaller and more local in nature?

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I think there's enough activity in the MKL market and surrounding areas to support 3 NWA Airlink Saab turboprop flights or 2-3 CRJ flights to MEM if NWA marketing will price the flights accordingly. Atlantic Southeast could run 2-3 turboprops or CRJs to ATL under the Delta banner with Comair adding a flight or 2 to CVG. With NWA and Delta being under similar marketing agreements, ground handling costs could be shared by both companies. American Eagle to ORD or DFW might be a stretch.

The STL flights are a waste of time as American has drastically scaled back that hub and connecting to it doesn't serve Jackson and rural West TN's needs. The MKL market could serve up to 250K people and 7-10 flights per day can fill that need...again, if the price is right.

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