Stennis International Airport flight operations increased by 32 percent over the past year thanks to more military flights, a new terminal and a focus on customer service at the Hancock County airport.
Stennis recorded a total of 29,010 takeoffs and landings in fiscal year 2015, up from 22,008 the previous year. The numbers were compiled by Quadrex Aviation, an international airport development services company, based on Federal Aviation Administration data collected at contract towers and FAA-staffed towers.
“A number of factors resulted in the impressive showing but the two greatest have to be professionalism and customer service,” said Bill Cotter, airport director.
Of the 12,825 local operations, 8,563 were military and 4,262 were general aviation. Of the itinerant or non local activities, 8,001 were military and 7,976 were general aviation.
“What started as support of Kessler Air Force Bases C-130Js and local Navy parachute operations has grown into a hub of military training,” Cotter said. “The 8,500-foot runway and unobstructed approaches is making Stennis International Airport a destination of not only military aircraft, but business and general aviation as well.”
The increase in activity moved Stennis International up from No. 480 to the No. 441 spot among all 516 FAA air traffic control towers in the United States.
“We rank No. 6 for greatest percentage growth of contract towers and No. 9 in overall increase, with 31.8 percent growth,” said Cotter.
Cotter said the tower staff and employees of Million Air, the airport’s fixed base operator, provide pilots, crews and passengers with personal and professional service as they arrive and depart Stennis International.
“Our team in the tower is the first and last impression pilots have of our airport community and it will be hard to find any better,” he said. “The line staff team at Million Air provides the first and last face-to-face contact pilots and passengers have.”