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Hancock County helping with Ida recovery operations

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 1:33 PM CDT
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Despite the rain and low clouds, it’s business as usual at Stennis International Airport.

On the main tarmac, they’ve got their day-to-day operations happening. At the north end of the runway, you’ve got Petroleum Helicopters Inc., a Louisiana-based business that had to relocate after Hurricane Ida. PHI flies oil rig and gas rig employees to and from the platforms.

“At Stennis, we’ve been getting a lot of planes coming through with equipment, personnel and supplies to help with the recovery,” said Jace Ponder, communications director for the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission. “Last week a C-130 was here from the Coast Guard. They were unloading the plane and transferring cargo to a truck that was headed to South Louisiana. We’ve got lots of hangar space and ramp space available for some of the aircraft, so we feel like we have a duty to our neighbors and make that available to our customers so they can recover from Ida.”

Over at Port Bienville, they’re using the extensive rail production line to deliver rock and gravel.

“We’ve had barges come in, we’ve had rail cars come in filled with rock and gravel so that they could replace and repair areas that were washed out, or where the ties in those areas were knocked out,” Ponder added. “What that does is keep freight moving and some trucks off the road so that cars and traffic can flow easier on the interstate, and it’s also more efficient to ship by rail.”

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