Jackson–Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (IATA: JAN, ICAO: KJAN, FAA LID: JAN) is a city-owned civil-military airport in Jackson, Mississippi, six miles (9 km) east of Jackson, across the Pearl River.
It serves commercial, private, and military aviation. It is named after Medgar Evers, the former Mississippi Field Secretary for the NAACP, and is administered by the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA), which also oversees aviation activity at Hawkins Field (HKS) in northwest Jackson.
In March 2011, the Jackson–Evers International Airport was ranked the 8th-best airport in a worldwide consumer survey conducted by Airports Council International (ACI). It was the only airport in the United States to be ranked in the top ten.
What is now Jackson–Evers International Airport opened in 1963, a new airport to replace Hawkins Field, Jackson's airport since 1928. Delta Air Lines's first flight, from Dallas Love Field, landed at Hawkins Field in 1929. The new airport was named Allen C. Thompson Field (after the Mayor of Jackson at the time, who was instrumental in obtaining the land for the airfield), which remains the name for the land on which the airport is built. The airport was "Jackson Municipal Airport".
Following a decision by the Jackson City Council in December 2004, on January 22, 2005 the airport name was changed to Jackson–Evers International Airport.
In 1973, Delta Boeing 727s flew nonstop to Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Monroe (LA), Montgomery (AL), Memphis, Meridian (MS), New Orleans, and Shreveport, which continued for some time afterwards During the mid-1980s Delta 727s and DC-9s flew nonstop to Atlanta, Dallas/Ft Worth, Memphis, Mobile, Monroe, and Shreveport. In October 1991 Delta had nonstop 727s, DC-9s and MD-88s to its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Dallas/Ft Worth, in addition to Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Monroe, and Shreveport. In the 1990s and 2000s Delta reduced its flights; by 2013 Delta flew only to Atlanta from Jackson.
In the 1960s, Southern Airways Martin 404s connected Jackson with Natchez, Vicksburg, Greenwood, Columbus, Laurel, and New Orleans, but in the 1970s Southern replaced these with McDonnell Douglas DC-9s. In the 1970s Southern had flights to Memphis, Atlanta, Greenville, Mississippi and Mobile, but after it merged with North Central Airlines in 1979 to form Republic Airlines it flew only to Memphis and left completely by 1984. In the 1970s Jackson had direct Convair 600 service to Houston–Intercontinental on Texas International Airlines.
In the 1980s, air service to Jackson remained steady. In 1979 Frontier Airlines flew Boeing 737s direct to Little Rock, with connections to Denver and the rest of the airline's network. Royale Airlines flew Gulfstream turboprops to Natchez and New Orleans. Between 1984 and 1986 Eastern Airlines had nonstop 727s to Atlanta and New Orleans; United Airlines flew 737s to Memphis, a route later taken over by Northwest with Saab 340s; Northwest also started direct turboprops to Laurel/Hattiesburg and later started Jackson–New Orleans. A Continental Airlines affiliate began turboprop flights to Houston–Intercontinental, which continued through June 2013 (now part of United, using regional jets). In 1983 American Airlines began direct flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Mobile, and later Nashville, using MD-83s and Boeing 727s.
In the early 1990s, the airfield's name became "Jackson International Airport" since it has facilities for international flights (of which it has none scheduled). The airport has an office for U.S. Customs to service international arrivals and has established a Foreign Trade Zone. The airport also welcomed US Airways as a new carrier during this time, gaining nonstop service to Charlotte and for a time, to New Orleans, before the latter service was eliminated by all carriers. In 1995 Trans World Airlines began Trans World Express service to St. Louis, though this ended the next year. Low-cost Valujet began DC-9 flights from Jackson to Atlanta in 1994, lasting for two years before it filed for bankruptcy and became AirTran Airways in 1997. The mid-1990s saw a tightening in the airline industry of the hub-and-spoke system, and many destinations from Jackson were eliminated. American downgraded service in 1995 from Jackson to American Eagle service only to Dallas/Ft. Worth and Nashville, and later only to Dallas, and by 2004 Delta provided service only to Atlanta and Cincinnati, the latter only through subsidiary Comair.
In 1997 Southwest Airlines began service to Jackson from Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Houston–Hobby and Orlando–International. Southwest withdrew all service in 2014; it flew its last flight from the airport June 7, 2014.
In 2013, the airport serviced 7,520 commercial aircraft (about 20 commercial aircraft per day); it serviced 53,096 aircraft overall (approximately 145 per day).
In 2006 the airport authority received a federal grant (Small Community Air Service Development) to recruit non-stop flight service to Newark to provide Jackson with non-stop service to the New York City metropolitan area. Continental Airlines commenced service from Jackson to Newark on September 25, 2007; however, due to high fuel costs, the route was terminated in the summer of 2008. American Airlines non-stop service between Chicago–O'Hare and Jackson–Evers was also recently halted, though the route has since been resumed by United Airlines.
The 172d Airlift Wing (172 AW) of the Mississippi Air National Guard has also maintained an Air National Guard base on the airport since 1963, having relocated that year from nearby Hawkins Field. The 172 AW previously operated the C-119 Flying Boxcar, C-124 Globemaster, C-130 Hercules, C-141 Starlifter and currently flies the C-17 Globemaster III.
The airport has an L-shaped terminal, with the ramp extending north. The west concourse, with gates 15–19, extends nearly straight from the central part of the terminal with ticket counters, while the east concourse (gates 1–4) extends north at the other end of the terminal building. In the 1980s United Airlines operated flights from gate 6, almost directly behind the ticket counters, but when the airport was renovated in the early 1990s, gate 6 was converted into an observation deck.
The Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame museum is located at the airport.
The airport covers 3,381 acres (1,368 ha) at an elevation of 346 feet (105 m). It has two runways, 16L/34R and 16R/34L, each 8,500 x 150 ft (2,591 x 46 m) asphalt.
In February 2011, five new jetways were installed, two on the east Concourse (gates 3&4) and three on the west Concourse (gates 15, 17, and 19) Recent improvements include a new covered garage for long-term parking.