New Tower Set To Open At Lott Airport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/12/05

New Tower Set To Open At Lott Airport

The equipment is in. The tower is up. And in just days this air traffic control center at Trent Lott International Airport will begin to keep a close eye on the sky.

"Their primary focus is to stop midair collisions," Airport manager Carol Snapp says. "Right now an aircraft comes in, he talks on the radio to advise any other aircraft in the area that he is taking off and that is the only way they know if they do not a have visual on another aircraft."

Officials say that can be a dangerous method especially with the estimated 100 aircrafts flying in and out everyday.

That danger Airport Board Authority chairman Clint Mathews says is keeping some people away.

"Large corporations don't fly into airports without towers. An air traffic control tower is just something we've been needing for years,"Mathews says.

Once it's in use, the Federal Aviation Administration statistics show the airport will see a 25 percent increase in traffic in one year. That's money in the airport's pocket.

"We get 9 cents for every gallon of fuel that's bumped here," Mathews says.

But that's not all. County leaders look at this five story tower as a mountain of financial opportunities for Jackson County.

"This is another tool we can have to assist the existing industries that we have here and any future industries that may want to locate here in jackson County," County Supervisor Robert Norvel says.

"I see jobs. When we lit the light, I knew this is going to develop into something, it's going to grow," Airport Board Member John Jenkins says.

That means this new tower just may help guide new jobs into the county as it does aircrafts to safety.

By Jaimee Goad

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