New Orleans commuter link sought

Published 5:34 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Trent Lott International Airport officials in Jackson County are applying for a federal grant to subsidize regular commercial flights to New Orleans.

Airport director Carol Snapp told supervisors this week that the $500,000 grant would go toward marketing and subsidizing an air carrier to provide commercial service.

If the airport in Moss Point can set up a regularly scheduled flight and transport at least 10,000 passengers in a year, Snapp said it would qualify for $1 million in subsidies from the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport currently receives $150,000 yearly from the FAA.

The airport already flies about 5,000 passengers annually, mostly to offshore oil platforms. Snapp said those passengers cannot be counted toward the 10,000-passenger goal until the airport establishes a scheduled flight.

Snapp said Northrop Grumman is the airport’s biggest customer.

Snapp said a survey showed local residents now drive to New Orleans, Mobile and Gulfport to catch flights.