Greenville’s Mid-Delta Airport has been on the up and up since the arrival of Contour Airlines and so has its director Sam Washington — Mississippi Airports Association’s “Professional of the Year.”
Washington, who has served as president of the MAA Board of Directors for the last three and a half years, announced the news of being named “Professional of the Year” during last Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Greenville City Council.
This year, he is getting his flowers while he can smell them.
“I never expected it because I never do anything for recognition, but it’s nice when people see what you’re doing,” he said.
In his report to the city council, Washington highlighted that enplanements are doing “very well” and are almost double the amount he reported in the beginning of Contour’s service.
“We’re off to a great start, everybody has enjoyed the flights...I’m confident that 10,000 enplanements are in our sight,” he said.
The potential to get the airport’s numbers back up to where the market once was —10,000 enplanements — was one of the most significant reasons for the airport’s application for enrollment in the alternate Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
Washington informed the council during a June 1 meeting of a subsidy provided by the federal government to the airport based on passenger enplanements.
If the airport reached 8,000 in enplanements, it would receive $150,000 for the year from the federal government, and, if it reached the 8,000 enplanements plateau and stayed between that and 10,000, the airport would qualify for $600,000 in subsidies.
Exceeding the 10,000 enplanements threshold and maintaining it for two consecutive years, however, is where the “grand prize” lies as it would qualify the airport for $1 million in subsidies.
Those subsidies could be used for improvement projects, upkeep of the runway, lighting systems and updates of that sort according to Washington.