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Meridian airport plans for future

By Staff
INCOMING FLIGHT – Sgt. John Johnson watches for planes flying in to Meridian Regional Airport on Tuesday afternoon. Shown in the background is Senior Airman Anthony Latimer. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
May 15, 2002
Months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and nationwide airport cutbacks, Meridian Airport officials say the city's commercial airport could be in a prime position for new growth.
Tom Williams, president of the Meridian Airport Authority, said plans already call for building a new terminal and improving security measures key topics at an airport authority meeting on Tuesday.
One of the problems is tighter security Congress has required for airports, railroads and other modes of nationwide transportation to help deal with the threat of terrorism.
Williams said the Transportation Security Administration will take up "plenty" of office space in the airport terminal by November.
New member
The airport's future was one of several topics discussed at the regular monthly meeting of the Meridian Airport Authority.
The five-member board also welcomed its third new member in the last 16 months. Jack Douglas replaced former member Shelby Dement.
Other recent new members include Johnny Thompson and Ann Dowdle, who have replaced Cassie Kauerz and Dr. John Jones.
Board members are appointed by Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith and confirmed by the city council. Terms run for three years; members can serve for multiple terms.
Dowdle, who joined the board a month ago, said she has learned a lot about how airports operate.
New terminal
Williams said the board began looking at building a new terminal before Sept. 11 and are now revisiting plans despite losing Northwest Airlink and about 25 percent of its total passengers.
The airport has 42 flights and serves about 500 passenger each week.

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