No hangar space: Airport seeks funding to expand

Published 6:00 pm Friday, July 22, 2022

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NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams County Airport has a problem, but relatively speaking, it’s a good one to have.

The airport is out of hangar space, and people are lining up wanting a hangar in Natchez, Richard Nelson, airport director, told the Adams County Board of Supervisors this week.

“People who are not based here at the moment are calling us about hangar space,” Nelson said. “Loss Prevention is looking to purchase another airplane, and our hangars are full. Maroon Aviation is requesting a hangar. They are subleasing another hangar, but they need one for themselves. Lots of people are contacting us asking us about hangar space. We have jets that are wanting to come to Natchez, but we don’t have hangars.”

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Because of that problem, the airport board is working to apply for a loan to build one or more hangars through the Mississippi Development Authority, “but we are at least six months out if we are approved for the loan.”

The airport is also awaiting the outcome of a grant application from the Mississippi Development Authority, which could be as great as $2.5 million and does not require a local match. That grant could lead the way to a commercial air carrier for Natchez.

“They keep telling us a decision will be made by the end of summer. Everyone has a different definition of when summer ends, but my definition is sometime in August,” Nelson said.

The county, city and airport board have been communicating with officials at Southern Airways.

“The communication with Southern Airways has been an ongoing situation. We have been talking with Southern since our air service development study came out. We have been talking about routes into and out of Natchez,” he said. “There is no agreement with them. They are coming here next week to see what Natchez has to offer. We are listening to them to see what they would bring to Natchez.”

According to the air service development study, the location for a connection that works best for those flying out of Natchez is either Houston or Dallas.

“We want a situation where they would fly out of Natchez directly into an airport where they would not have to leave the secure area for a connection. That’s the best outcome for Natchez. That’s the best outcome for Natchez,” he said.

Nelson said if the Natchez-Adams County Airport is successful in receiving the MDA air service grant, it would boost other commercial air carriers’ interest in Natchez.

“We want to make sure we do what is best for the airport. We don’t want to do what was done in the past, which is bring in something that doesn’t stay. We want to bring in an air carrier the right way, a carrier that will last and be successful here,” he said.