JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Carl Newman, former CEO of the Jackson Airport, did an impressive job improving airport operations over the four years he spent in that position. He resigned in late March. What led to his resignation is not fully understood, but he deserves credit for upgrading the facility and services and it is unfortunate that he is no longer serving as CEO.
When Newman was heading the efforts, the airport had lots of positive announcements. Unfortunately, the most recent decision by the airport board of commissioners of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority that the entire group needs to attend the Paris Airshow, is casting a negative cloud over the operation. It would be understandable if the commission chair and CEO, or another top-level employee, attended the event, but all five commissioners and multiple employees? That is excessive and could best be described as a boondoggle.
The city of Jackson is strapped for cash, and even though the money generated at the airport can’t be used to fix potholes, a Jackson commission spending tens of thousands of dollars on an oversees junket is a poor decision. Mayor Lumumba, who appoints the commission, should strongly suggest that the commission reconsider their decision and instead send two or three representatives to the event. And regardless of whether it is Paris, Hawaii or any other event, the real questions we should ask are: How has the airport and city benefited from these trips? Have JMAA landed more air carriers? Is there a major economic development project in place because of these meetings?
With the state pushing for a takeover of airport operations, this poor decision by the commission gives more support to the proponents who claim the state would do a better job managing the airport.