...For an airport that has already gone through millions of dollars worth of
renovations and improvements, it’s hard to imagine what more can be done.
But Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport has more in the works for 2011.
...On top of that, it expects to have more passengers pass through the terminal
of the commercial airport.
...“We were up this year around 12 or 13 percent,” said airport Executive
Director Bruce Frallic. He expects an uptick in 2011, but won’t predict how
much. “We feel good about the new year because of the economy. But I don’
t think we’ll be seeing the kind of growth that we had this year.”
...Frallic isn’t the only airport director in South Mississippi who is optimistic
about 2011. Bill Cotter, director of Stennis International Airport in Kiln, and
Carol Snapp, director of Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, are
also busy overseeing improvements, and are encouraged about the 2011 and
beyond.
...At Stennis International Airport near Stennis Space Center, Cotter said work
on a two-story, $6 million terminal will get started around mid 2011. Funding
is already in place, and plans include a restaurant on the second floor with and
aviation history theme.
...A $750,000 expansion of the aircraft parking apron is also in the works,
likely in the first quarter of 2011.
...The airport serves Stennis Space Center and is also a key training airport for
the military. Rolls-Royce, which tests airline engines at SSC, uses the airport
to ship engines. The airport also provides the jet fuel for tests.
...Tenants of the airport also expect to grow in 2011. Selex Galileo will be
constructing two aircraft hangars that can each handle two C-130s, and Hot
Sticks and Lazy Magnolia are looking at expanding.
...In Jackson County,  Trent Lott International Airport is also in a growth
mode.
...“The airport is currently installing new airfield lighting for the runway,
taxiway, and apron area, a $700,000 project,” said Snapp, adding that 2011
will be a busy year as the airport moves forward with improvements that will
allow it to eventually extend the current runway from 6,500 feet to 8,000 feet.
...For all three airports, the ongoing improvements are important on several
levels. Airports are significant economic development tools that not only link
the region to the outside world, but provide a first impression.
...At Gulfport-Biloxi, one big project that will reach fruition in 2011 is the
opening in the first quarter of 2011 of the new facility operated by Million Air,
the airport’s fixed base operator. The operation, which will be open 24/7,
includes a 12,500 square-foot passenger terminal with conference rooms, a
business center and U.S. Customs Facility.
...The FBO will have a 20,000 square-foot hanger with 28 foot clearance,
large apron with tie-down and parking area that will be able to accommodate
heavy aircraft. It will also provide full service maintenance.
...In addition, Gulfport-Biloxi will begin the $12 million taxiway “J” project.
This work is on the northern part of a taxiway on the west side of main
runway. The parallel taxiway is a lead-up to a runway extension.
...Frallic said the airlines are making money now, but just what will occur with
two mergers is unclear. In one, Continental and United are joining together
and in the other, Southwest and AirTran are combining.
...“We think it will be positive,” Frallic said about both mergers.

January 2011
Looking ahead
Airports get terminal, new FBO in 2011