Current Feature Stories

Jacksonville Aviation Authority names new CEO

November 26, 2018
By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority board Monday voted unanimously to name Mark VanLoh as its new CEO.

VanLoh, previously the CEO of the Tulsa Airports Authority in Oklahoma, had been put forward by the board's search committee out of a pool of 73 candidates. VanLoh previously served as the director of aviation for Kansas City, Missouri, and president of the Chattanooga Airport Authority in Tennessee.

"I'm looking forward to a lot of success here," said VanLoh.

VanLoh succeeds Steve Grossman, who retired in the fall. Grossman presided over JAA for nine years and left the authority on a year of record high passenger counts, record high revenue and a slew of new direct flight destinations. Rusty Chandler, chief of Cecil Airport and general aviation, served as interim CEO while the executive search was conducted.

"There are some big shoes to fill, but we have a lot of faith in you," said board chair Jay Demetree.

In contrast to JEA's board, which on Tuesday will review multiple CEO candidates nominated by its search committee, JAA's board simply had an up or down vote on one candidate. VanLoh had been the clear winner in the search committee's scoring metric based on interviews with four candidates.

VanLoh will begin his duties on Dec. 3.

JAA's CEO retires with records on résumé

September 24, 2018
By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Steve Grossman, CEO of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority for nine years, is ready to ride off into the sunset after holding his last board meeting Monday. He leaves JAA with the highest year-to-date passenger count in more than a decade, the highest year-to-date revenue in the authority's 50-year history and new routes announced by four airlines in the last year.

JAA CFO Richard Rossi recounted the authority's strong metrics, including passenger counts, concessions and more. JAA saw more passengers in April, May and August than the same months at any point in JAA's history. The passenger count in July, almost 591,000, was the highest of any month since JAA's all-time record in July 2007. All concession companies at Jacksonville International Airport saw their gross profits climb last month, a feat that hasn't been achieved in nine years. The authority's year-to-date operating income is more than $28 million, while revenue is nearing $80 million.

"It’s the right time for me to go, but I leave this organization in what I consider excellent shape," said Grossman.

The board appointed Rusty Chandler, chief of Cecil Airport and general aviation, as interim CEO while a search is conducted for a permanent CEO. Grossman commended the board for not installing an interim who was also a candidate for the permanent CEO, which he believes would be a mistake. Instead, Grossman envisions Chandler's months-long role as "solidifying things so the next person can take over the same organization we have today and move it forward."

"I’ve been extremely impressed with his calm leadership," Grossman said of Chandler.

Grossman, who served as the director of aviation at the Port of Oakland before joining JAA in 2009, said the current board and staff stand above any he's had in his career.

"The trust you put in me and the staff is why we succeed," said Grossman. "It's freed us up to be innovative and entrepreneurial."

There is not a fixed timeline to find JAA's next permanent CEO.

"I look forward to finding someone who has carried the torch as well as you have," Board Chair Giselle Carson told Grossman.

Carson also ended her tenure as board chair in Monday's meeting, though she will remain on the board. Jay Demetree, who was vice chair, succeeds her as chair.


Spirit Airlines picks Jacksonville as its newest city, adds two new routes

Sept. 20, 2018
Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

Spirit Airlines has turned to Florida for its newest destination.

The “ultra low-cost carrier” will add two new routes from Jacksonville, launching daily service to both Chicago O’Hare and Detroit on Dec. 20.

Jacksonville becomes Spirit's 69th overall city and continues its rapid build-up in Florida.

The airline already operates its busiest hub at Fort Lauderdale and has its headquarters nearby. Earlier this summer, Spirit also announced a “big deal” expansion in Orlando. Spirit also flies from the Florida cities of Fort Myers, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

More: Spirit Airlines: Major Orlando expansion is 'huge deal'

As for the new Jacksonville service, Spirit will offer one daily round-trip flight on both of the new routes.

“Beyond a proud military presence, the Jacksonville area offers beautiful warm beaches, amazing golf courses, lively festivals, sporting events, and family friendly attractions that will no doubt be a draw for our guests,” Laurie Villa, Spirit’s Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, says in a statement. “As we continue to expand, we want to make sure we continue to serve our neighbors with ultra-low fares right here in our home state.”

WJCT-TV of Jacksonville adds: “Spirit’s expansion comes as passenger traffic at (Jacksonville) grows. In April the airport hit a new all-time April high with 545,386 passengers arriving and departing, a 13.55 percent increase over April 2017.”

But it wasn’t all good news for Jacksonville on Wednesday. On the same day that Spirit announced its new Jacksonville flights, small regional outfit Silver Airways said it would discontinue its service at the airport.

Silver Airways currently flies 34-seat turboprops on routes connecting Jacksonville to Tampa and to Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. Those routes will end Nov. 4, according to The Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville.

“Unfortunately, certain flights in Jacksonville are not operating at an adequate level in current market conditions,” Silver Airways spokeswoman Misty Stoller said to the newspaper. “We will continue to evaluate and keep an eye on Jacksonville for possible opportunities to resume service in the future.”


Spirit Airlines launching nonstop service from Jacksonville to Chicago, Detroit

Sept. 19, 2018
by: Daily Record Staff 

Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines announced Wednesday it will begin daily nonstop service from Jacksonville International Airport to Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Detroit Metro Airport.

Service on both routes begins Dec. 20. One-way fares shown on the website ranged from $123.19 to $210.18 in December.

"We are so proud to be expanding service once again right here in the Sunshine State to my hometown of Jacksonville," said Laurie Villa, Spirit Airlines senior vice president and chief human resources officer in new release.  "As we continue to expand, we want to make sure we continue to serve our neighbors with ultra-low fares right here in our home state."

Jacksonville is the Spirit’s 69th city and sixth Florida destination, joining Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

"Their arrival means more low fares for the Jacksonville community," said Steve Grossman, CEO of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority

Headquartered in Miramar, Spirit has been expanding its service. In June, it added Asheville and Greensboro, North Carolina. Earlier in September it added service from Fort Lauderdale to Colombia.


Jacksonville International Airport loses Silver, adds Spirit

Sep 19, 2018
By Matthew Farina

Jacksonville International Airport (JIA) will soon lose one airline while gaining another.

Silver Airways said Wednesday it will stop service to JIA on Nov. 4. The Fort Lauderdale-based airline — noted for its nonstop flights to Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, which began in 2013 as a seasonal service — said a decline in their Jacksonville market has forced them to reconsider their routes. 

“Unfortunately, certain flights in Jacksonville are not operating at an adequate level in current market conditions,” said Silver Airways Spokeswoman Misty Stoller. “We will continue to evaluate and keep an eye on Jacksonville for possible opportunities to resume service in the future.”

Stoller said Silver Airways will give full refunds to passengers with tickets on flights scheduled after Nov. 4. The airline has also added flights to Fort Lauderdale, Pensacola, Birmingham, Ala., and Nassau, Bahamas. 

Despite this loss, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) is hopeful Silver’s competitors will expand their services to offset its absence.

“It’s always difficult to lose an airline,” says JAA Community Relations Administrator Debbie Jones. “But they do what’s in the best interest of their business and we hope other airlines will step in and fill the gap.”

One organization is already taking advantage of Silver’s decision. Spirit Airlines announced Wednesday it will offer direct flights from JIA to Chicago and Detroit beginning Dec. 20. 

“We are so proud to be expanding service once again right here in the Sunshine State to my hometown of Jacksonville,” said Laurie Villa, Spirit Airlines’ senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “The Jacksonville area offers beautiful warm beaches, amazing golf courses, lively festivals, sporting events, and family friendly attractions that will no doubt be a draw for our guests.” 

Jacksonville will mark Spirit’s 69th destination in its growing network — joining Spirit’s other Florida destinations of Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

Those flying in-and-out of Jacksonville will certainly benefit from Spirit’s presence, according to JAA Chief Executive Officer Steve Grossman. “It is with great excitement and anticipation that we welcome Spirit Airlines to Northeast Florida,” he said in a statement. “Their arrival means more low fares for the Jacksonville community.”

Spirit’s low fares aren’t its only hallmark. The airline continues to improve its on-time performance and guest satisfaction. Recent Department of Transportation data shows Spirit Airline is among the top carriers for on-time performance and baggage handling.


New airline will take off from Jacksonville International Airport

Sep 19, 2018
By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Spirit Airlines is adding flights from Jacksonville International Airport, the airline announced Wednesday. The Florida-based airline will offer nonstop daily service from JIA to Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Detroit Metro Airport beginning in December.

Jacksonville is Spirit's 69th service station, its 5th in Florida.

"We like to think of ourselves as Florida's hometown airline," said Laurie Villa, senior vice president and chief Human Resources Officer for Spirit.

Villa, a Jacksonville native and University of North Florida alumnus, announced the new routes at JIA Wednesday.
"We believe these two markets are a great place to start new service," said Villa. "It makes sense for a growing airline to enter a growing part of the state."

Villa envisioned the daily, nonstop routes as a way to bring Northern travelers to Jacksonville's beaches, golf courses and entertainment while giving Jacksonville flyers access to two major cities and their connecting flights. The announcement continues JIA's growth in routes from the airport. Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air have added multiple destinations from JIA in recent months, and passenger counts are up 15 percent, according to Michael Stewart, director of external affairs for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

“It is with great excitement and anticipation that we welcome Spirit Airlines to Northeast Florida,” Steve Grossman, JAA CEO, said in a statement. “Their arrival means more low fares for the Jacksonville community.”

Spirit's new routes will be offered year-round.


Spirit Airlines Launch Service From JIA To Chicago, Detroit In December

September 19, 2018
By Bill Bortzfield

Another airline is setting up shop at the Jacksonville International Airport (JIA).

Spirit Airlines announced Wednesday it will begin nonstop daily service from JIA to Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Detroit Metro Airport.

“We are so proud to be expanding service once again right here in the Sunshine State to my hometown of Jacksonville,” said Laurie Villa, Spirit Airlines’ Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in an email to WJCT News.

The new service will start on December 20.

“Their arrival means more low fares for the Jacksonville community,” said Steve Grossman, Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority in a news release.

Jacksonville marks Spirit’s 69th destination, and the sixth in Florida. Spirit Airlines also flies out of Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

Spirit’s expansion comes as passenger traffic at JIA grows. In April the airport hit a new all-time April high with 545,386 passengers arriving and departing, a 13.55 percent increase over April 2017.

Spirit Airlines, which is headquartered in Miramar, Fla., flies to U.S. cities in addition to the Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America and South America.

Frontier Airlines has also been expanding at JIA this year, adding flights to seven cities from Jacksonville this year.  

JIA is also working on a new $1 million lounge for passengers that is scheduled to open early next year.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.


Jacksonville spaceport moves forward with plans for control center

September 6, 2018
By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority recently filed plans for its new air traffic control tower at Cecil Airport, which will also house a control center for Cecil Spaceport. The plans, which focus on the property's drainage, are JAA's first since it announced plans to demolish its current 55-foot tower with a 135-foot tower and control center in 2017.

The spaceport control center will give commercial horizontal launchers the ability to track and remotely collect data from their spacecraft, Cecil Spaceport Director Todd Lindner told the Business Journal.

"If you launch a vehicle, you're responsible for tracking it and collecting data," said Lindner. "We'll be providing the facility to conduct those services, but we will not be the ones doing it."

Cecil Spaceport is one of only six commercial horizontal launch facilities in the U.S., and the new control center will make it one of only three with dedicated tracking and telemetry facilities. Atlanta-based Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc. will launch the spaceport's inaugural flight when it sends football-sized satellites into orbit in late 2019.

Regulators require launchers like Generation Orbit to file applications stating exactly what measures they will track (telemetry) and what metrics they expect to reach, which makes the control center a critical component, Lindner explained.

"Launchers have to put together a telemetry plan that says what they will measure," said Lindner. "Then they have to do what they said they were going to do in their application."

The data will be relayed from the spacecraft to the control center via an antenna that can either be brought in on a trailer or permanently installed at Cecil. Lindner noted that he is currently "in the design phase" of the control center, but it will be plug-and-play for any launcher to use.

Construction for the entire air traffic tower is expected to cost $3.3 million, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation and JAA.


New VIP lounge coming to a First Coast airport near you

August 6, 2018
By Will Robinson, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

he Jacksonville Aviation Authority unanimously approved Monday a contract to develop a premium lounge at Jacksonville International Airport. Unlike Delta's existing VIP lounge, this lounge would be available to customers from multiple airlines and customers who pay for a day pass.

"I think we'd be the smallest airport in the country with two VIP lounges," JAA CEO Steve Grossman told the board.

The Club JAX will open February 2019. The 2,726-square-ft. facility will feature a buffet with menus from local chefs, as well as ample seating, two restrooms with showers and a children's play area with video games, TV and books.

Texas-based ALD Development Corporation will spend at least $1 million to develop, manage and operate the 49-guest lounge. The company is the nation's largest independent shared-use lounge developer and maintains a network of 18 airport lounges in 13 airports worldwide.

The lounge can be frequented by first-class passengers as a part of airline and card member rewards programs, though none have been identified for JIA yet, ALD staff told the board. The lounge will also sell day passes.

"We are very confident this will be a busy lounge even without Frontier, JetBlue or Allegiant," said Graham Richards, ALD's director of strategic network development, referring to airlines who don't yet have lounge reward programs.

JAA will receive a percentage of revenue from the lounge or $80,000 during the first contract year, whichever is higher, over a seven year contract with yearly renewal options.

In the same meeting, the board chose local consultant ADK Consulting to find JAA's next CEO after Grossman retires at the end of the year and approved a $1.8 million matching grant from Space Florida for a Space Operations Control Center, Payload Preparation Facility and Rocket Motor Testing Facility at Cecil Spaceport.


Premium Lounge Approved For Jacksonville International Airport

August 6, 2018

The Jacksonville airport will open a premium lounge early next year, if all goes to plan.

That’s after the Jacksonville Aviation Authority board on Monday approved the selection of a Texas-based developer to build it.

JAA spokesman Michael Stewart said the $1 million lounge will give every traveler, regardless of airline, a chance to take a load off while waiting for flight.

“In the industry, what’s developed over the last few years, particularly overseas — and it’s starting to come to the states — is what’s called common use lounges. They are not affiliated with an airline,” he said.

But “common use” doesn’t mean free. Stewart said these lounges usually charge daily fees for casual travelers or network subscriptions for frequent flyers.

ALD Development Corporation is expecting to manage the 2,726 square-foot facility with seating for about 50 guests.

The lounge will have showers, a children’s play area and buffet menus featuring local Jacksonville chefs, according to a news release from JAA.


Monday Editorial: JAA hailed for inclusion work

August 6, 2018
By Times-Union Editorial Board

Congratulations to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority for winning a nice award from a top airline industry trade group.

The independent authority has earned an Inclusion Championship Award from the Airports Council International-North America for its work to promote local small businesses and workforce diversity.

The JAA has held workshops, forums and other events to make business opportunities available for small businesses — and particularly for minority entrepreneurs.

The JAA also won the inclusion award for embracing diversity within the authority.

The JAA oversees our city’s airport system, including Jacksonville International Airport.


Bomb-sniffing dogs could help JIA travelers get through security faster

Aug 2, 2018
By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax

Bomb-sniffing dogs are now being used to keep travelers safe at Jacksonville International Airport.

The K-9s first started working at JIA Wednesday.

Koshetz said passengers who are cleared by the dogs while standing in line could be moved into an expedited lane.

That means you won’t have to take off your shoes, belt, or jacket and you can leave your laptop in your bag.

“Anything that can get us through, safely, quicker – I’m all for it,” said JIA traveler Fred Moore.

The dogs will also be sniffing passengers and airport employees at the gate.

“We also know that insiders can be a threat. So, although the passengers have gone through security, it’s a double-check to make sure that no one on the inside has posed a threat,” Koshetz said.

TSA K-9 handler Donald “Bubba” Deason said travelers don’t need to be frightened by his K-9, Boomer.

“Some people have a fear of dogs. And they look at the dog and then they get, ‘I don’t want to go near the dog. I don’t want to go past the dog.’ And basically, we tell them the dog’s not going to hurt you. It doesn’t attack. All it wants to do is sniff,” Deason said.

Moore said some travelers may have a hard time resisting the urge to pet the dogs.

“It depends on how late they’re running for their flight. But that’s going to be tempting, especially the kids,” Moore said.

The dogs wear harnesses warning people not to pet them.


Dogs relieving travel anxiety at Jacksonville International Airport

By: Beth Rousseau , Action News Jax
July 30, 2018

Jax Paws, a program allowing specially trained K-9s and their handlers to walk the airport, launched Monday.

Anne Bell with Jax Paws explained, “It really has been proven that physiologically it calms the person, lowers the blood pressure … people seem to respond well to the dogs.”

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More than a dozen dogs have been through the training, according to Bell.

She says the licensing process is extensive, but more volunteers are ready to join.

“Probably give this two or three months to see how this goes and then open this up to other handlers”, Bell said.

The dogs can greet passengers at ticketing, in the lobby and terminals.

Travelers say the furry friends are a welcomed addition to their trips.

Traveler Kari Conley said, “Anything that gives people a break before having to deal with TSA, with bag checks, with customs.”

K-9s are scheduled to be at JIA Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday and weekends from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.


Jacksonville International Airport Adds Comfort Dogs to East Your Travel Stress

July 30, 2018
By: Arielle Wysocki

Jacksonville, FL -  Between delayed flights, luggage issue, and standing in long security lines, a trip to the airport can sometimes be a very stressful situation.

Recognizing just how overwhelming an airport can be, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority has launched a program aimed at reducing stress and creating a more relaxed atmosphere for travelers- and it involves man’s best friend. 

The new program, called JaxPaws, allows volunteers and therapy dogs to walk through the Jacksonville International Airport to offer emotional support to anxious travelers. 

“It really has been proven that physiologically it calms the person, lowers the blood pressure,” says Volunteer Coordinator Anne Bell. 

She says people have been responding well to the dogs so far. For travelers like Kari Conley, the dogs are a welcome addition to their trip. 

“Anything that gives people a break before having to deal with the TSA, bag checks, with customs,” she says. 

Bell says more the licensed and fully-trained therapy dogs are scheduled to be at Jacksonville International Airport every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and during the weekends. She says they’re hoping to be able to expand the program in the future.


'Paw-some' visitors take worry out of travel at Jacksonville airport

July 30, 2018
By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Flying and airport crowds can cause major stress for travelers.

"Fur-tunately" some "paw-some" additions at Jacksonville International Airport have arrived to help.

In a program that took off Monday at JAX, handlers and their therapy dogs are roaming about, ready to share their "pet-tential" and comfort travelers in need.

The JAXPaws program aims to "cur-tail" stress for nervous travelers with 13 dogs who wander (with their handlers) around the ticketing area, courtyard and terminals beyond security checkpoints.

Jewel and her owner, Anne Bell, are one of the JAXPaws teams working to make a “ruff” experience easier for passengers.

"It has been proven physiologically it calms the person, lowers the blood pressure,” said Bell, who like the other handlers is a volunteer. “(It's) just the greatest thing of giving back to people and seeing smiles and seeing people relax."

John Sawyer's flight was delayed an hour Monday, but a quick selfie with JAXPaws member Roxie distracted him from his worries for a few minutes.

"It seems to cheer up just about anybody that takes a moment to stop by and see them,” Sawyer said.

All of the dogs in the program are registered therapy dogs, but they spent some time at the airport to get used to things like suitcases and the environment.

For now, the pups in the pilot program will be roaming the airport from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. three days a week and on weekends. 

Belly rubs optional, but encouraged.


ACI-NA Announces Winners of the 2018 Inclusion Champion Awards

June 14, 2018

PORTLAND - Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) today announced the recipients of the 2018 ACI-NA Inclusion Champion Awards during an awards gala dinner at the ACI-NA Business of Airports Conference in Portland, OR.  The ACI-NA Business of Airports Conference brings together more than 600 commercial management, human resource, and finance executives from the North American airport industry. This year’s Inclusion Champion Award recipients are Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Jacksonville Airport Authority, and AECOM.

“Because of the airport’s important role in the local community, it is essential that an airport places a special focus on fostering beneficial working relationships with disadvantaged businesses that reflect and support the community,” said Kevin M. Burke, ACI-NA President and CEO. “I applaud the recipients of this year’s Inclusion Champion Awards for their continued commitment to setting ambitious goals that strengthen the businesses that support airport operations in the areas of new business, workforce diversity, outreach, and advocacy.”
Large Hub Inclusion Champion: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport constantly strives to maximize opportunities for minority and woman-owned businesses. With the unique business environment created by the number of casino hotels in Las Vegas, the airport has taken outreach to a new level. It organized or participated in 119 outreach events in 2017 that centered on advertising opportunities and providing technical assistance to small and minority or women-owned businesses. As a result, the airport has exceeded its goal with Federal Aviation Administration grants in three of the last five years by providing over $5.5 million in contracts/subcontracts to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. The thoughtful structuring of both construction and concession contracts to ensure opportunities for small businesses with varying capabilities has resulted in a successful program that has received accolades and awards from Las Vegas Urban Chamber, Asian American Group, Western Regional Minority Development Council, Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, and other community groups.
Medium Hub Inclusion Champion: Jacksonville Aviation Authority
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) emphasizes that they are “open for business to anyone open to doing business” with them.  The airport led multiple efforts to uphold this mantra including partnering with public agencies and advocates for small and minority businesses to conduct workshops, trade shows, forums, and related events that are educational and offer networking opportunities. These efforts resulted in a more than $13 million impact of small business and minority participation for FY 2017. The aviation authority also promotes diversity and inclusion in all of its recruiting and development efforts. Organizationally, JAA revised all Human Resources Policies and executed the rollout of the revised policies in a new employee handbook with training at every level of the organization.

Associate Inclusion Champion: AECOM
AECOM believes that small and diverse businesses bring innovation and expertise to the industry. AECOM continuously seeks to identify small and diverse business to support the company’s aviation work as well as sustain the growth of existing partnerships. Over the past five years, AECOM has provided nearly $4 billion to small and diverse business through subcontracting. The company’s strategic recruitment efforts, inclusionary hiring practices and organization cultural diversity education and training have fostered a focus on creating a diverse and inclusive workforce at all levels. Due to these efforts, AECOM has seen growth in overall minority hires in its aviation practice throughout the U.S. 

About ACI-NA
Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America.  Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports.  Collectively, U.S. airports employ more than 1.3 million people and account for $1.2 trillion in economic activity—or seven percent of the total U.S. workforce and eight percent of GDP.  Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada's GDP. Learn more at  


Jacksonville airport soars in April

May 22, 2018        
By Timothy Gibbons  – Editor in chief, Jacksonville Business Journal

For Jacksonville International Airport, T.S. Eliot is wrong: April certainly wasn’t the cruelest month.
The airport saw more visitors this April than in any since it opened, staff members told the Jacksonville Aviation Authority board on Monday, with 545,386 people enplaning and deplaning.
This is up 13.55 percent from April 2017 and represents the seventh month of year-over-year passenger growth — a sustained period of growth that hasn’t been seen in a decade, said Chief Financial Officer Richard Rossi.
For the first seven months of the year, enplanements and deplanements were up 6.5 percent, with 1.7 million passengers using the airport.
About 18 percent of that increase came from Frontier Airlines Inc., which has been on a tear recently; earlier this month, it rolled out six new destinations from Jacksonville.
The higher number of passengers is also tied up with two other increases: Airlines are bringing more flights to JIA — which is now over 100 daily flights — and many of those planes are bigger than they were in the past.
The number of flights and the number of passengers should be up next year, the board was told, with passenger counts for the year projected to top 3 million for the first time in a decade.
Over that decade, the airport has gone from serving 27 destinations to serving 41.


Allegiant adds nonstop flights from Jacksonville to two cities

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
By David Bauerlein

Additions mean air travelers can reach 32 destinations nonstop from Jacksonville International Airport.

Jacksonville air travelers can book nonstop flights to two more cities when Allegiant Air starts flying in June to Louisville, Ky., and Norfolk, Va.

The service will bring the total number of cities to 32 for nonstop service from Jacksonville. Allegiant will offer nonstop flights to eight of those cities.

“Today’s announcement will connect two large military communities, while also providing service to the home of the Kentucky Derby,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said.

Allegiant said the nonstop service will tap into the popularity of Florida’s east coast for vacations.

“We’re very excited to grow again in Jacksonville,” said Lukas Johnson, senior vice president of commercial for Allegiant.

Allegiant said it will set one-way fares as low as $49 to Louisville and Norfolk for tickets purchased by Wednesday. Those tickets must be for travel by Aug. 13.

The first Allegiant flight to Louisville will take off June 8; and service to Norfolk will launch June 14.

Allegiant says the new routes will have twice-weekly flights.

Allegiant, based in Las Vegas, describes itself as an airline focused on offering “ultra-low-cost” flights serving leisure destinations.


North America's Top Airport Is In This Southern City

March 8, 2018

The Airport Service Quiality Awards from Airports Council International gave several Southern airports top honors.

If you've ever been to Jacksonville International Airport, you know it's a gem. From grabbing a souvenir at Amelia Island Marketplace to the JAX Airport Arts Commission, it's a true standout in air travel.

Now, it's getting formal recognition thanks to an Airport Service Quality Award from Airports Council International (ACI). This year, JAX tied for first in North America with Indianapolis International Airport. To determine the winners, ACI surveyed 600,000 people at 343 airports in 2017 on 34 key performance indicators like baggage claim, services, and customer experience.

"Objective measurement and benchmarking are critical in driving performance in any business especially in such a competitive and dynamic one as an airport,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World in a company statement. “These winning airports have dedicated themselves to delivering a stellar customer experience."

Other Southern airports received an award, with El Paso International Airport tying for second place, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Dallas Love Field, San Antonio International Airport, and Tampa International Airport tying, among others, for third.

Congratulations to all the winners around the world. Hope to see ya soon, Jacksonville.