New fixed-base operator Southern Sky Aviation introduced at event.

On Wednesday, the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation (JCEDF) joined with the Trent Lott Airport Board of Commissioners, Jackson County Board of Supervisors, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, and U.S. Congressman Steven Palazzo to celebrate the grand opening of the newly improved Trent Lott International Airport (TLIA).

The event marked completion of a runway lengthening and widening project which had been ongoing since 2019.

“There’s no question that the Trent Lott International Airport is a huge asset to our economic development portfolio,” said George Freeland, executive director of the JCEDF.  “Completion of this major expansion project is not only making the airport more economically resilient but will have the downstream impact of increasing private investment and job creation at the Aviation Technology Park.”

The TLIA is the centerpiece of the Jackson County Aviation Technology Park, a 230-acre master planned industrial park that is also home to Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Systems Center.  The TLIA received approximately $10 million in federal, state, and local funds to expand capacity by strengthening the runway to 220,000 lbs. dual gear and widening the runway to 150 feet.

The funds were made available through a variety of sources, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT); and the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), which was designed to promote economic development and environmental restoration to those states affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

“I applaud Senators Wicker and Hyde-Smith, Congressman Palazzo, Gov. Reeves, and the entire Jackson County legislative delegation for their tireless efforts to secure these federal and state funds for our infrastructure.  Without their leadership, this expansion project would not have been possible,” Freeland continued.

With the expansion project complete, the TLIA will now be able to:

  • Accommodate C-130 cargo planes;
  • Have additional redundancy along the Mississippi Gulf Coast for emergency management officials to receive vital supplies during natural and manmade disasters;
  • Achieve cost-savings for existing industries by supporting air cargo transportation needs in close proximity to their facilities;
  • Compete on aviation-related economic development projects which require runway use to transport cargo;
  • Increase corporate aviation; and
  • Pursue additional military training activities and fueling services.

Today’s celebration also included introduction of Southern Sky Aviation, the new fixed-base operator selected by TLIA to provide aeronautical services such as fueling, hangaring, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, and other similar services. The Birmingham-based company also has a presence at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Release from the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation.