Trent Lott Int'l Airport Getting Upgrade

The Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point is getting an upgrade, and will unveil its new additions as early as the end of this month.

Executive Director Carol Snapp said construction of a five-story-tall control tower and resurfacing of the 6,500-foot runway has been going smoothly.

"We've been real fortunate here," she said of the construction process. "Everything's been going great."

The Roy Anderson Corporation has been overseeing the construction of the $2.1 million tower as well as the $1.7 million runway rehabilitation. Both were secured by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Currently, the airport averages more than 30,000 takeoffs and landings per year of private, corporate and government planes. Snapp said that number should increase by at least 25 percent once the tower is completed.

"The tower is the number-one safety tool for any airport," she said. "We believe once it's complete, we will have a lot more flights and businesses coming in that were previously restricted to airports with towers. There are a lot of benefits to this because of the safety upgrade."

She also said the runway improvements should allow larger aircraft to land, once grooves are cut in the sides of the runway for storm water drainage.

"We were previously rated at 65,000 pounds per (landing gear)," she said. "Now, we're rated at about 125,000 pounds."

The airport wants to officially bring the tower online by October 27, after air-traffic controllers for the tower have been hired and trained. An FAA inspection is planned at the end of the month for the new facilities.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press