Federal Aviation Administration Policy Deals Blow To State of Mississippi’s Hostile Attempt To Take Over Jackson, Mississippi’s Airports

The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced a significant policy that will impede the State of Mississippi’s attempt to take control of Jackson’s airports next month. On May 4, 2016, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2162, which attempts to abolish the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA). The airport authority is governed by a five-member board, which is appointed by Jackson’s mayor and confirmed by the Jackson City Council. SB 2162 seeks to appoint a new nine-member commission, a majority of which are appointed by the governor and lieutenant governor. Jackson’s mayor would have only one appointee on the commission.

In the June 6 Federal Register, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a policy that states, among other things, before any state legislative body takes action impacting the operation, etc. of an airport, it should “consult with and obtain the consent of the current sponsor,” which in this case, is the City of Jackson.
The policy also states that when the transfer of the airport operating certificate is disputed, the FAA will not act upon an application to transfer the certificate until the dispute is “definitively resolved to the satisfaction of the FAA.”
Until the FAA grants approval, the JMAA board will continue to operate, even though SB 2162 has an effective date of July 1, 2016. “We commend the FAA for making its position crystal clear,” JMAA Board of Commissioners Chairman Dr. Rosie L.T. Pridgen said. “The JMAA Board of Commissioners did not consent to JMAA being abolished and the creation of a new regional commission, as required by the recent policy issued by FAA. Additionally, the board vehemently opposes any transfer of the airport operating certificate.”
Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber, the Jackson City Council, Hinds County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic state legislators, have all opposed the state’s hostile takeover attempt of Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport and Hawkins Field Airport.
More than 10,000 supporters nationwide have signed petitions opposing the takeover. Those petitions will be sent to the FAA to show widespread support. Pridgen asks supporters, particularly corporate partners, to:

• Write letters to the FAA opposing the attempted takeover of Jackson’s airports
• Call for the repeal of Senate Bill 2162
• Sign the electronic petition addressed to the FAA by going to JMAAworks.com

To volunteer in the effort to keep the airports in Jackson’s control or to read the full FAA policy statement, go to JMAAworks.com.

JMAA Release