OB airport sees flight increase - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

OB airport sees flight increase

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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (FOX13) -

On the business level, the Olive Branch Airport is flying back toward the level it was at before the recession.

"Well last year we were up by about 18 percent, we hit about 68,000 operations a year," said David Bice, air traffic manager. "This year we will probably go in that same way - 67,000 - 68,000 range."

An average of 230 takeoffs and landings occur each day. Before the recession, the regional airport recorded an average of 315 takeoffs and landings a day.

What doesn't hurt the airport it boasts two flight schools, both of which have great reputations.

"Actually they are noting that the flight school is doing a good job of training the pilots that are being selected over some other flight schools, so having two flight schools helps too," Bice said.

The number of corporate flights in and out of Metro Olive Branch Airport are indicative of something stronger, Bice added.

"Well the economy is turning around a little bit, I have noticed that you tend to see the corporate side change in the aviation industry quicker than you do in the stock market," he said. "You see a change here in the industry sooner."

Bice added that the airport started seeing an increase in flights in 2010.

Olive Branch Airport has also over the years become a place for the stars to slip in and out of when they are in town. The airport has its own wall of fame. Oprah has been through here, as have several NASCAR drivers and coaches recruiting Mid-South players.

"It's like any corporate airport, you just kind of let them go in and out on their merry way," Bice said. "That way they will come back, they don't want to get fussed over."

Many say the future of this Mid-South airport is getting brighter all the time.

"I have said it's a gold mine, it's like a diamond in the rough," Bice said. "I mean, there are so many possibilities here at this airport."   

The Federal Aviation Administration identifies the Olive Branch airport on the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

The designation means the airport is considered significant to national air transportation.

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