Tupelo Regional’s attraction to travelers, airlines, developers and aircraft owners is easy to understand. Although the airport is more than 65 years old, it sparkles today with recent improvements and renovations:
In 1991, the runway was extended to 6,500 feet, with 150-foot-wide grooved pavement. The field offers instrument approaches to aid pilots in times of limited visibility: a new full lighting system and an air traffic control tower. A new overlay on taxiways, a fire station, a new parking lot and a recently completed security system, including a new perimeter road, complete the facelift.
Nearly every component of Tupelo Regional Airport has been improved, providing a level of safety, security and control that many airports lack. But the work doesn’t end here. The airport has plans for a free-trade zone, which would allow businesses to warehouse their goods, minus inventory taxes.
We have constructed a new T-hangar that accommodates 14 airplanes and allows for expansion in the area of general aviation. This self-serve area offers fueling and space for flight planning. Pilots can already avail themselves of aviation fuel (AvGas and JetA), aircraft rental, flight instruction, aircraft repair and car rental. A spacious and modern terminal building, nine conventional hangar spaces complete the airport’s airside facilities.
Tupelo Regional has the potential to build 10 nested T-hangars to accommodate 140 planes. And with plenty of open space – including two underdeveloped 50-acre sites on the airfield, and a third, 70-acre plot in the industrial park – the airport has plenty of room to grow.
In 1934, a group of businessmen gave Tupelo the funds to buy land for an airfield. They could only imagine the role that Tupelo Regional Airport would later play in the lives of the region’s air travelers and the future of North Mississippi. From that day forward, Tupelo Regional Airport has taken off and soared.
GROWING TO SERVE YOU!
Since 1951, when the first planeload of travelers stepped on the tarmac, Tupelo Regional Airport has emerged as an important regional transportation center. Over the next five decades, the airport would put down new runways, build a spacious terminal, extend the runway, install a full lighting system, build an air traffic control tower, set down new overlay on taxiways, construct a new fire station, self-service fueling facility with T-hangars, general aviation hangars and more.
This course of improvements has established Tupelo Regional Airport as a major, vital airport serving Northeast Mississippi with boundless potential for commercial, business and general aviation users. The Mississippi Department of Transportation has declared Tupelo Regional Airport a business airport of statewide impact, providing the highest level of general aviation service in the state. And, as a Type III Enhanced airport, it is one of the “flagships of Mississippi’s aviation system (which) provide the state’s major centers of population and commerce with a full compliment of aviation services required by the most demanding business users.”
The numbers help tell the story. Tupelo Regional Airport accounts for 202 jobs with an annual payroll of $4.1 million. The airport’s total economic impact is almost $14 million. Gross revenues for associated rental cars companies alone approached $1 million in 1999. Little wonder that this airport is growing. Located three miles west of downtown Tupelo in Lee County, the airfield is only 35 miles from Alabama to the east, and about 50 miles south of Tennessee. Along with travelers from Alabama and Tennessee, Tupelo Regional Airport serves 13 Mississippi counties – a service area that extends north to Alcorn and Tishomingo counties, south about 65 miles to Lowndes and Oktibbeha, and another 65 miles west to Yalobusha County.
Over the next 15 years, regional/commuter passenger boardings at Tupelo Regional are projected to increase by 42 percent, from 15,600 in 2002 to 24,100 in 2017. By comparison, statewide boardings are expected to grow 37 percent over the same period.
APRIL 1934 A group of businessmen donate money to purchase land for an airport.
MAY 19, 1938 The first air mail plane lands in Tupelo
JUNE 21, 1951 The first commercial passenger plane, a Southern Airways flight lands in Tupelo
JULY 12, 1951 The renovated Tupelo Airport is dedicated.
1958 A second runway is built at the airport.
OCTOBER 2, 1968 Tupelo Airfield is named C.D. Lemons Field.
FEBRUARY 1984 A new runway is built. (This is the runway in use today)
MAY 1986 A new terminal is constructed and dedicated.
SEPTEMBER 1986 Northwest Airlines begins commuter service with Northwest Airlink.
AUGUST 1991 The new runway is extended to 6,500’.
JULY 1996 The airfield name is changed to Tupelo Regional Airport.
2001Air Travel Control Tower is constructed
JUNE 2005 ASA/Delta Connection begins jet service
AUGUST 2005Terminal Expansion/Renovation
APRIL 2007 Tupelo Airport Authority begins operating FBO Tupelo Aviation Unlimited
NOV 2008 Runway Widening Project Complete