December 22, 2015
The airport business is buzzing in Jacksonville, according to a year-end report sent to the mayor by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority's board of directors.
The report, which recapped the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, pointed to passenger activity increases, revenue increases and other gains as signs of a healthy aviation industry in Jacksonville.
According to the report, passenger activity increased 4.51 and revenues increased by 9.25 percent. Expenses were held to a 5.1 percent increase, giving the agency positive cash flow. The Authority finished the year with an increase in net assets of $9.39 million, or 71.22 percent over the previous year, the report said.
Jacksonville International Airport was ranked as the third best airport in North America for customer service, according to the report, which also pointed to the addition of new flight services by Allegiant Airlines, JetBlue, Delta and Silver Airlines.
The board also noted the opening of a new 160,000-square foot hangar for Flightstar at Cecil Airport, which it said will generate 300 high-paying jobs over time.
“The Authority's vision is to make Jacksonville an aerospace hub in the Southeast with companies like Boeing, Embraer, Flightstar and LSI making Jacksonville home,” the report said. “It is the stated goal of the Authority to make Jacksonville the U.S. headquarters for Embraer's Defense and Security Division, which could bring many more jobs and high visibility to Jacksonville.”
The board noted in the report that the agency's economic impact on Jacksonville and the region was last calculated at $3 billion and growing.
“We believe that there are great things ahead for the Authority,” the report said.