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Rotarians learn about Nashville airport

Jake Old • May 30, 2017 at 4:35 PM

Tom Jurkovich, vice president for strategic communications and external affairs at the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, spoke to members of the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club on Tuesday about the state of the airport.

 

The airport has had record-setting passenger growth in the past five years, Jurkovich said, and that trend is projected to increase.

“We grew 11 percent last year, and that’s extraordinary; we’re growing 11 percent this year, and that’s extraordinary,” Jurkovich said.

In the previous fiscal year, there were about 12.9 million passengers. In the 2017 calendar year, the airport is on pace to see 16 million passengers.

In addition to continued growth, the nature of flights has changed drastically in the past 30 years. In the 1980s, 80 percent of the passengers were on connecting flights, while this year about 85 percent of passengers are origin or destination passengers, meaning they either live in or are from Nashville or they are traveling to Nashville.

With that trend, changes have happened at the airport, and those changes will continue with renovations. Renovations will include increased parking, more gates and better access to the airport.

Funding for the airport comes from a combination of federal and state grants, as well as income from airline fees, concessions and parking.

“It’s important to understand that we receive no local tax dollars,” Jurkovich said. “We do get federal grants and state grants, but in terms of everything else we do, we are self-supporting.”

Jurkovich said the airport authority continues to address concerns from growth in the Nashville area, including updates to renovation plans.

“Growth is here, growth has been here, growth is going to continue,” he said. “How we manage it is important.”

In the future, the airport authority hopes to work with airlines to get more nonstop flights around the country and regular international flights.

“It’s something that people are working on around the clock,” he said. 

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