(DeSoto County, MS) Most of the takeoffs and landings at the Olive Branch Airport come from private and corporate aircraft.
Since the new control tower opened a couple of years ago, business has been booming.
Airport manager David Taylor says the FAA’s plan to close the tower will hurt, and hurt bad, ”It’s the FAA’s responsibility and I don’t know how irresponsible they can be."
Taylor’s been leading the charge to keep the tower open and talking to anybody who’ll listen, ”I am trying to get every governmental body that I can, involved in supporting the continuation of operation of the control tower.”
DeSoto County Supervisors are listening and passed a resolution Monday supporting continued operations at the tower.
Currently, a private contractor runs this tower under government contract for about $500,000 a year.
Taylor estimates if the FAA ran it, it would cost two million.
Supervisor Jesse Medlin says he’s worried about economic development prospects, ”I’m a conservative. I’d like to see some things cut, but I hate to see that cut ‘cause it’s safety of people, safety of people flying over there, students, and I don’t want to see those huge planes bypass us."
He says big corporate planes won’t land at an airport without a tower, taking important business and tax revenue with them, ”We actually approved travel to Washington if they think it would help for us to come up and talk to the people one on one."
Taylor agrees, it’s a safety issue, especially as traffic increases in Olive Branch, ”Obviously, it doesn’t carry any weight with the FAA. They don’t care it’s the second busiest airport in the State and by the way, the first three months of 2013, we are the busiest airport in Mississippi."
And he says an accident here, could result in the Federal government getting the blame.