By Tommy Booth, Director
I would like to thank the MS Airports Association for hosting the virtual airport conference at the beginning of this month. It was a huge success! Even though I would prefer to meet face-to-face, I’m glad we were able to come together for a few days to talk about the aviation issues in Mississippi.
For those who were unable to attend, I provided an overview of the passenger activity, the aeronautics revenue stream and the multimodal program status. Passenger enplanements are way down as compared to 2019. In 2019, we had more than a million passengers board commercial aircraft in Mississippi – the highest number since 2012. Through October 2020, only 361,717 enplanements were reported, compared to 845,854 in October 2019 – a decrease of 57%. Likewise, our revenue in the department has dropped. Our aviation fuel taxes were down about 40%, and the airport parking tax was down about 70%. We are projecting just over $1 million in collections for FY2021, which is well below our normal $2 million – $2.5 million. The division has some funds available to make up the difference, so we should be able to provide our normal match for the upcoming FAA projects. As for the airport multimodal program, we expect MDOT leadership to make the decision by the end of December as to whether or not to move forward with the FY2021 program. If we get approval, the list of candidate projects will go before the Transportation Commission for approval in January. We have briefly discussed the FY2022 cycle scheduled to kick off in March/April 2021. We don’t know if it will be delayed, but our hope is that we can move forward with the normal schedule.
And finally… The MDOT Aeronautics Division would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Stay safe, and please wear your mask!