“Basically we’re looking for the businesses of Tupelo to drive in and pledge to make Tupelo their first consideration for air travel, not their only, but their first,” said Josh Abramson, executive director of the Tupelo Regional Airport.
Abramson used the meeting to introduce the “flylocal” marketing campaign to city council members, supervisors, and other civic and business leaders.
Consultant Mike Mooney of Sixel Consulting also offered ideas on air service strategy and air service development. He told those around the table that Tupelo has a strong industrial base that can support the airport. Mooney said there is a key component Tupelo’s airport must have to grow and survive like Golden Triangle Airport has done in Columbus.
“To have the kind of traffic demand that airlines are looking for and I think you have the possibility here of drawing the air service, having a stronger air service, but we all have to come together and work on that and also have to get a good partnership with the airline that is serving the airport,” Mooney said.
Silver Airways began service at Tupelo Regional Airport five months ago, and boardings have continued to decline from the previous year. It operates with the help of millions of dollars in federal subsidies that could go away one day.
In addition to declining passenger counts and what it could mean in the long run, Abramson updated the group on the FAA’s cost-cutting decision to close the airport’s control tower.
“For us it’s a big safety consideration and they’re the eye in the sky and it’s hard to put a price tag on what those men do up in the tower,” said Abramson.
Abramson plans to hold similar briefings to let regional leaders know the airport will be aggressive in its efforts to attract more passengers as it seeks to become a key player in business and leisure travel.