Home » NEWS » Govt/Politics » Jackson-Evers to soon shift most concessions, shops inside security checkpoints

Jackson-Evers to soon shift most concessions, shops inside security checkpoints


The dash travelers often make to get through security checkpoints at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport often leaves no time for a stop at the Starbucks on the public side of the west concourse.

That is about to change with concession and retail plans Jackson Municipal Airport Authority CEO Carl Newman is set to put in motion. This includes moving the Starbucks and other concessionaires to inside the checkpoints where passengers await their flights.

“We’ve got a bad situation with food and beverage and retail,” Newman said in a recent interview.

“This building was designed before 9-11,” he said. “The majority of our food and beverage and retail space is on the public side of the concourse.”

People tend to rush right past it because they want to get through screening, Newman noted.

With the help of SI Partners, consultants who specialize in airport concessions and retail, Newman will be relocating the magazine-newsstand and knick-knack stores and concessionaries inside the checkpoints. Also, some new food, beverage and retail offerings will be in the mix, he said.

The plan entails additional floor space for the concessionaires and shops.

That is just the beginning of Newman’s plans.

“Once we get that squared away and get a chance to bank a few more dollars, we can turn to getting the concourse done.”

Getting the concourse done involves shutting down the west concourse and replacing it with a new one just north of the terminal lobby, according to Newman.

This second phase is slated for the tail end of the airport’s five-year strategic plan, Newman said.

Host Marriott will continue to run the concessions and Hudson News the retail shops.

With the new concourse will come prepared food offerings from local and regional restaurants as well as nationally branded concessionaries. “We want some local fare and flavor,” Newman said.

Newman predecessor Dirk Vanderleest put off nearly $40 million in terminal upgrades and improvements to the security checkpoints after Fitch Ratings lowered the project’s bond rating from A- to BBB+. Fitch has kept the designation in place since lowering the rating in spring 2014 on news that Southwest Airlines was ceasing service at Jackson-Evers. The current rating is still stable and investment grade, Fitch noted.

Newman said he is comfortable with taking on the debt. The BBB+ “is probably as good as it gets for airports our size, said Newman, who took over for the retired Vanderleest in early 2015 after a lengthy career as a top operations executive at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport and Houston’s George Bush International.

The terminal modernization is among several ambitious projects outlined in the 5-year strategic plan the Airport Authority recently adopted.

Also on the board is a consolidated car rental facility and hotel near the terminal.

The plan envisions a rental facility that consolidates rental car maintenance operations with rental car pick-up and drop-of operations. The current maintenance center is situated away from the airport. Rental car pick up and drop off is now on the ground floor of a parking garage next to the terminal.

Under the airport lodging proposal, the Airport Authority would enlist a private developer to design, finance and manage the hotel.

The first step is a lodging market analysis, Newman said. “We’ll let them get in and figure out what it is people are looking for and what level of service they are looking for.”


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Ted Carter

One comment

  1. I dislike reading lengthy posts, only because i’ve got some dislexia, but i actually enjoyed this

Leave a Reply