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Don't forget about these parking changes at the Jacksonville airport

April 18, 2019

If you’re heading out of town for the holidays, you might notice some changes taking shape at Jacksonville International Airport.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is renovating the airport’s parking garage starting Friday, meaning part of the third and fourth floors of the hourly garage and the departure-level entrance will be closed.

The first phase of the project is focused on the hourly parking garage, but work will later begin on the daily parking facility.

Because of the ongoing work, travelers should follow the signs posted around the garage to see where there are parking spaces available. It’s also a good idea to get to the airport two hours early.

As for those who are planning to pick somebody up from the airport, JAA recommends taking advantage of the cell phone lot’s free parking area until the arriving passenger is waiting at the curb.

Once this current phase of the project is complete, JAA will begin work on other parts of the parking garage until the entire renovation is finished. Got questions? Call 904-741-2277.

By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

Major Parking Garage Renovation Project Kicking Off at Jacksonville International Airport

April 18, 2019

If you have any flights planned any time soon, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find parking at the airport.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority has announced major repairs and renovations will be kicking off April 19th for the Jacksonville International Airport's parking garages. 

This means flyers can expect temporary closures to portions of the garages as the project is underway. JAA says the project will begin in the Hourly Garage and then continue through the Daily Garage. 

The entire parking garage improvement project is expected to wrap up in late-2020. 

If you have any airport parking questions, you can call the parking lot office at (904) 741-2277.

Jax Aviation contributes billions to local economy, study finds

April 4, 2019

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority contributes more than $6 billion a year to the Jacksonville economy, according to a new study released by the Florida Department of Transportation Wednesday.

The study included direct impacts, like employee salaries, and indirect impacts, like visitor spending and employee spending. It studied the four airports under JAA's authority: Jacksonville International Airport, Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport, Cecil Airport and Herlong Recreational Airports.

“As this FDOT study shows, our aviation system is a significant contributor to Northeast Florida’s economy,” JAA CEO MarkVanLoh said in a statement. “The expected growth at each of our four airports will continue fueling the region’s financial health.” 

JIA makes the biggest impact of JAA's airports, generating almost $3.2 billion and supporting more than 26,000 jobs. Cecil came in second with an impact of almost $3 billion and about 11,000 jobs. JaxEx, a comparatively small general aviation airport,contributes $100 million, and Herlong Recreational generates $52 million.

FDOT estimates that the state's 20 commercial service airports, 100 public-use airports and 11 military airports contribute $175 billion to the Florida economy.

By Will Robinson 
Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal 

With traffic surging, Jacksonville International Airport adding 3rd concourse

March 1, 2019
Airport sees 16 percent increase in passengers in 2018, revives plans for a new Concourse B. 

A third concourse with six gates is on the way to Jacksonville International Airport.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is seeking design bids for a new concourse to accommodate more passengers at the airport, which saw business grow 16 percent last year. 

Mark VanLoh, CEO of the aviation authority, discussed the project Tuesday with the Economic Roundtable of Jacksonville at Jacksonville University. He presented “The Future of Aviation in Northeast Florida.”

The airport handled 6.4 million passengers last year, which is roughly 900,000 more passengers than in 2017, VanLoh said. He said the 16 percent increase took him by surprise. 

“We did not intend to grow that fast,” VanLoh said, noting that January was the airport’s best month in its 50-year history. 

JAA revived a long-standing plan for Concourse B. An older Concourse B was demolished in 2009 after Concourses A and C were rebuilt in 2008, leaving a total of 20 gates. 

An economic downturn reduced the number of passengers and flights. 

Statements of qualifications are due April 2. Details of the JAA solicitation are at

The Concourse B schematic design report from December 2011 outlines six gates; 76,144 square feet of main-level space and 37,149 square feet of support spaces; and project hard costs of $86 million, although that was in 2015 dollars.

The JAA expects to select a concourse designer in May, VanLoh said after the meeting. The project cost and construction timeline have not been determined, he said.

The solicitation package says Concourse B will need to be in place by Dec. 16, 2022. 

It says that secondary areas of terminal expansion could include concessions, airfield circulation and apron expansion, a third level for additional concessions and lounge space, administrative and operational areas, baggage system expansion and other work.

The additional gates will permit more flights, which will lower the airlines’ costs and produce more competitive rates, VanLoh said.

The additional concourse will require the airport to relocate its security checkpoint and add another precheck lane to move passengers through more quickly.

The airport’s terminal expansion project was initiated in 1998 to redevelop the existing facilities to accommodate growth of up to 8 million passengers, according to the solicitation.

VanLoh accepted the CEO position in December, overseeing assets that generate an estimated economic impact of $3.2 billion annually. He took over for Steve Grossman, who retired in October.

VanLoh previously worked two years as CEO of the Tulsa Airport Authority in Oklahoma and spent 12 years as director of aviation for Kansas City, Missouri.

According to VanLoh, the JAA also plans to:

• Make its first launch from Jacksonville’s Cecil Spaceport in April. The former Cecil Field Naval Air Station closed in 1999.

It now targets commercial spaceport operations and services military aircraft, corporate aircraft, general aviation and air cargo.

The 2011 site plan shows a third concourse at Jacksonville International Airport. The airport scrapped those plans because of low demand, but is seeking new plans.

The upcoming Spaceport project will involve a horizontal launch of a brick-sized object strapped onto a jet. 

• Replace Jacksonville International Airport’s restroom sinks and countertops this summer to address the facility’s No. 1 passenger complaint.

• Add more restaurants and beverage shops in response to the airport’s second most frequent complaint. In two years, all the airport’s concessions will go out to bid.

• Increase marketing to attract airline passengers from Savannah and other areas within a few hours’ drive of Jacksonville. This will offset the number of Jacksonville residents and visitors who book flights from Orlando and other airports. 

VanLoh said he’s also developing strategies to provide direct flights to the West Coast.

But, to persuade an airline to bring new nonstop service to JIA, the aviation authority must show it can provide 100 passengers a day every day of the year, he said.

“It’s a big investment for an airline,” VanLoh said. “Many times, it takes several years.”

by: Caren Burmeister,   Contributing Writer
Jax Daily Record

Jax airport plans 3rd concourse

March 1, 2019
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is seeking proposals for design services of its long-awaited Concourse B, Jacksonville International Airport's third terminal.

As JIA's Concourse A and C imply, the aviation authority has wanted a third terminal for a long time. A and C were finished in 2008 with 20 gates, and the former Concourse B was demolished in 2009.

A request for qualifications opened Feb. 25 states that Concourse B will add six new gates to the airport and complete construction by the end of 2022. The RFQ seeks proposals from companies to modify a 2011 design, pictured below, for the concourse. Bids are open until Apr. 2.

Other services JAA's future partner will be asked to perform include design services for concessions, lounge space, administrative office space, baggage system expansion and more.

JAA CEO Mark VanLoh previously told the Business Journal that he hoped plans for Concourse B would be part of JAA's upcoming masterplan. 

"We’re pretty sure [the masterplan] going to tell us, 'You better get started on Concourse B,'” said VanLoh. "We’re running low on gate space, especially in the mornings... Things are happening, and you can’t wait till you’re out of space and then decide to build gates because that takes years.

"We’ve got to start now, and I think this masterplan is going to tell us, 'Get busy.' If an airline can’t find a gate here, they’re going to go somewhere else. We don’t want them to go to Tampa or Orlando, they need to be here."

by Will Robinson - Reporter,
Jacksonville Business Journal


The Club JAX opening at Jacksonville International Airport

Monday, March 11, 2019
The Club JAX is under construction at Jacksonville International Airport.

The city issued a permit Feb. 28 for Auld & White Constructors LLC to build-out the 3,625-square-foot space at a cost of $1.05 million.

Club JAX is designed with zones labeled relax, replenish, productivity and kids, along with a concierge and a bar. It will be between the food court and service pet relief area after travelers clear security.

The lounge should open in the spring and will be available to all departing passengers, regardless of airline, through either a $40 day pass bought online or at the club or with a Priority Pass membership that comes with several travel credit cards. In addition to Priority Pass, The Club JAX can be accessed by members of LoungeKey, Diners Club International and the AAA member discount program.

Club JAX will offer a complimentary hot and cold buffet that features a seasonal menu rotation that showcases the flavors of Jacksonville.

The lounge also offers premium wines, local craft beers, premium spirits and cocktails, all of which are complimentary to guests over 21 years old.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority previously announced that Airport Lounge Development Corp., based in Plano, Texas, will invest at least $1 million to develop, manage and operate the 2,726-square-foot facility that will have seating for 49 guests.

by: Karen Brune Mathis  Editor

JAA approves $27M Flightstar expansion

Daily Record
by Joe Wilhelm Jr., Staff Writer

A $27 million Cecil Airport hangar project that could create up to 400 jobs was approved Monday by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority board of directors.

Flightstar Aircraft Services Inc. plans to expand its aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Cecil Airport with the construction of a 150,000-square-foot hangar. It will be the largest building project in the airport's history.

The company currently leases two hangars and one large warehouse/storage building at the airport and has the capacity to service up to 10 airplanes at a time. It employs about 850 people at the facility.

"When you service the FedEx, Southwest and Deltas of the world, they don't come to you with one airplane, they come to you with several airplanes. Any one of those customers could take up our entire capacity at any given time," said Jerry Hernandez, president and CEO of Flightstar.

That demand can reduce the number of customers Flightstar is able to service, he said.

"So those that we have serviced over the years that I affectionately call the 'onesie, twosies,' that are the asset-based aircraft owners that don't have this continuous schedule, they are the ones being displaced. We need this capacity because they are all customers and all good customers," said Hernandez.

The new hangar will allow Flightstar to service four to six more planes and hire about 400 new employees, Flightstar said.

Hernandez estimated that mechanics working for Flightstar annually earned $60,000-$70,000.

Flightstar already is the largest employer at Cecil Airport before expansion, according to authority CEO and Executive Director Steve Grossman.

"This project represents what we are all about, which is to maintain and enhance the Jacksonville Aviation Authority as an economic engine for this community," said Grossman.

He said Cecil and the area will be "significant growth magnets" for the city and will pull development from the Westside.

In addition, he said the companies had been shipping their maintenance, repair and overhaul needs overseas until recently.

"We are seeing a lot of this MRO work coming back to the United States," said Grossman.

The authority will partner with the Florida Department of Transportation to construct the new facility, with the authority matching $13.5 million from the department. The authority will lease the building to Flightstar for 30 years.

Richard Rossi, authority chief financial officer, estimated Monday that $1.8 million in Flightstar's annual rent for the hangar will produce an 8 percent return on investment for the $13.5 million the authority invests in the project.

@photojoe71, (904) 356-2466


Jacksonville International Airport Manager Gets Big Pay Bump

September 27, 2011
Written by Roger Weeder

The chief executive of Jacksonville International Airport is getting a pay bump that pushes 14 percent.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority, in a close vote, decided to give Steve Grossman a pay raise and a new five-year contract. Grossman has been on the job two years.

"When a guy is making money for the company then you need to reward him," said Ernie Isaac, board chairman.

Isaac proposed the new pay package that has Grossman earning $280,000 in base pay. The base pay package now has Jacksonville offering the highest pay, excluding incentives, of any airport in Florida.

Grossman, who is traveling said in an email, "The salary in the new contract is approximately $1,000 less than the salary plus bonus in the previous contract."

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority does not receive tax dollars from the City of Jacksonville. This year it projects revenues of $65 million.

Airport managers in Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale have a lower base pay than Jacksonville. Jacksonville's pay package no longer includes incentive pay. The previous contract provided up to 15 percent if performance goals were met.


Jacksonville International Airport to offer special parking lot for holiday travelers

Fri, Dec 18, 2015
By Drew Dixon

In anticipation of heavy holiday parking use at Jacksonville International Airport, officials there will be opening an extra economy lot at a special rate.

Economy Lot 3 will be available on a first-come, first serve bases beginning Wednesday at a $20 flat fee, a news release said Friday. The lot will also have a shuttle bus service to take those using the parking spaces to the terminal for airliners 24 hours a day.

While the economy lot will be opened Wednesday, anyone using the parking area will have to vacate their vehicles from the lot by Jan. 4.

Travelers wanting more information on the parking situation during the holidays at JIA can call (904)-741-2277.


2 artists exhibit their work at the airport

The Jacksonville International Airport, which the London Observer recently called one of the four best airports in the world at using art to enhance travelers experiences, has a new exhibit featuring two local artists.

Work by Robert Coca-nougher, a professor of art and design at the University of North Florida, and Annelies Dykgraaf, a founding member of the Art Center Cooperative in downtown Jacksonville, will be on display at the airport through March 21.

The top four airports at using art are Seoul Airport in South Korea, Heathrow Airport in London, Schipoul Airport in Amsterdam and the JIA, the Observer said.


JAA sees record-busting numbers in 2018, adds services in 2019

January 24, 2019
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority saw a 16 percent increase in passengers last year, giving it a record 6.46 million. The last time the authority came anywhere close to that number was in 2007 with 6.3 million.

JAA's increase in passengers was steady throughout the year, as it set monthly passenger records seven out of the 12 months in 2018.

“This is an excellent milestone for our organization and Jacksonville as a whole,” JAA CEO Mark VanLoh said in a statement. “It’s reflective of the quality work done by the entire JAA team as well as Jacksonville’s status as a dynamic and attractive city.”

Overall, JAA handled almost 900,000 more passengers last year than in 2017. The growth was fueled by new carriers, new destinations, increased flight frequencies and larger aircraft.

The authority expects its momentum to continue into 2019. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) has made its weekend service to Dallas into a daily service; Spirit Airlines will begin daily service to Baltimore and Ft. Lauderdale in February; and Frontier Airlines will begin its service to Raleigh-Durham in April. JAA also plans to open its VIP lounge this summer.

VanLoh recently spoke to the Business Journal about his vision for West Coast flights, the Spaceport and trans-Atlantic routes, as well as the impact the ongoing partial government shutdown has had on Jacksonville International Airport.

By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

JAA's new CEO talks spaceport, international flights, government shutdown

January 18, 2019
Newly named CEO Mark VanLoh addresses JAA's board for the first time.
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority's new CEO, Mark VanLoh, has big shoes to fill. VanLoh, hired in November, succeeds Steve Grossman, who finished a nine-year tenure at JAA with the highest passenger count in more than a decade, the highest revenue in the authority's 50-year history and new routes announced by four airlines.

VanLoh came to JAA from the Tulsa Airports Authority, where he was CEO, and is the former director of aviation for Kansas City, Missouri, and former president of the Chattanooga Airport Authority in Tennessee. He was selected to be CEO of JAA from a pool of 73 candidates.

VanLoh sat down with the Business Journal on Friday to discuss his vision for his new role.

What attracted you to this position?

It’s a relatively small industry. There’s only about 400 airports in the United States that have commercial service, and this is one of the top-run airports in the country. I’ve known that for a long time, and I’ve been watching and watching. When the opportunity came open, I jumped.

This the ultimate. You’ve got something for everybody that loves aviation. We’ve got the spaceport, we’ve got general aviation for the barnstormers on the weekends, we’ve got a corporate airport for the private jet guys and then we’ve got this monster up here [Jacksonville International Airport]. It’s got everything. And of course the location doesn’t hurt either.

What are some challenges unique to running JAA?

It takes everything you’ve ever learned in your career. That’s why I feel like I’ve sort of been waiting this long to accumulate all the skills I have because it’s a different mindset at each airport.

You’ve got the people at Herlong [Recreational Airport] who rent space from you and buy gas, and they just want to be left alone; just let me fly… Then the other extreme, you’ve got the airport up here where we’re very security-oriented, everybody’s got a badge and it’s serious business… Then you’ve got the spaceport, which is up and coming, and I think is going to be tremendous over the next few years.

JAA is in the process of developing a masterplan for the next several years. What are things you are hoping or expecting to see come from that?

We’re pretty sure it’s going to tell us, “You better get started on Concourse B.” We’re running low on gate space, especially in the mornings. All the airlines love to park here overnight, and we like them to because that means we get an early morning flight for the business traveler...

We’ve got growth happening as we speak. Frontier just announced Raleigh-Durham last week. Spirit Airlines started last month. Things are happening, and you can’t wait till you’re out of space and then decide to build gates because that takes years.

We’ve got to start now, and I think this masterplan is going to tell us, “Get busy.” If an airline can’t find a gate here, they’re going to go somewhere else. We don’t want them to go to Tampa or Orlando, they need to be here.

You're starting at a unique time with the partial government shutdown. What are things you're monitoring or having to work around logistically?

The thing the public sees is the controllers and the screening employees and the TSA because that affects them. What they don’t see are the places where we get our federal funding and our grant applications and everything we have to send to Washington to get approved, that’s not happening. Nothing is happening.

The best we can hope for is to keep the employees happy, coming to work and doing their jobs. So far, we haven’t seen a blip at all. Now as this continues, of course we get more worried. But for right now, they’re dedicated, they’re coming in and we have no security lines.

If you were looking back on your tenure at JAA, what do you want to have achieved?

I want to be able to attract the service that our customers want. We’ve got some targets out there. We know we need better West Coast service. We would like to see some international service to Europe with the new aircraft that could do it now without a stop.

I’d like to be able to say we got the service that Jacksonville deserved and that business travelers wanted. I want to leave the place in a better position financially than I found it, which will be tough to do because we’re in great shape.

And then I’d like to see growth in the spaceport industry. I’d like to see Cecil realize it’s full potential because that is an unpainted canvas right now. There’s so much land out there ready for development, and you’re starting to see it with Amazon and all the other facilities out there.

I’d like to see our general aviation guys happy and able to get in their plane and fly whenever, where ever they want to and not be harassed by too many government regulations. I’d like to keep all facets of aviation happy.

By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville International Airport preparing for The Club JAX

December 28, 2018

Travelers through Jacksonville International Airport soon can access a new club — The Club JAX.

Club JAX is designed with zones labeled relax, replenish, productivity and kids, along with a concierge and a bar. It will be between the food court and service pet relief area after travelers clear security.

Jacksonville Aviation Authority spokeswoman Debbie Jones said the lounge should open in the spring and will be available to all departing passengers, regardless of airline, through either a $40 day pass bought online or at the club or with a Priority Pass membership that comes with several travel credit cards.

In addition to Priority Pass, The Club JAX can be accessed by members of LoungeKey, Diners Club International and the AAA member discount program.

JAA Senior Properties Administrator Jeff Taylor said Friday the airport lounge offers a complimentary hot and cold buffet that features a seasonal menu rotation that showcases the flavors of Jacksonville.

The lounge also offers premium wines, local craft beers, premium spirits and cocktails, all of which are complimentary with guest access to those over 21 years old, he said.

The city is reviewing a permit for Auld & White Constructors LLC to build-out the 3,625-square-foot space that will become a premium lounge for travelers in addition to storage and pantry space.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority previously announced that Airport Lounge Development Corp., based in Plano, Texas, will invest at least $1 million to develop, manage and operate the 2,726-square-foot facility that will have seating for 49 guests.

The authority said The Club JAX will offer a hot and cold buffet featuring menus from Jacksonville chefs and seating for relaxation, privacy, productivity and dining.

It said the club will provide two restrooms, including showers, and a children’s play area with age-appropriate video games, TV and books.

The authority said Airport Lounge Development is the largest U.S. independent shared-use lounge developer with a network of 18 airport lounges among 13 airports worldwide. It is part of The Collinson Group, a  privately held travel services company based in the U.K. 

The Collinson Group’s services include travel insurance, travel clubs and loyalty programs. It says it spans 24 international offices and 21 brands, including Priority Pass.

In October, Airport Lounge Development announced the opening of a new lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The Club DFW is open from 4 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily and serves all passengers who have cleared TSA access in any terminal.

As in Jacksonville, guests there can buy a day pass for $40. It serves the same membership categories.

It described that club’s five zones as:

• A Privacy Zone, where guests can conduct private conference calls or Skype friends or family in the privacy room or in one of ALD’s privacy chairs. “Cocoon” chairs are provided for those who want to read or make a quiet phone call.

• A Replenish Zone that features comfortable seating and a menu that includes a hot and cold buffet and all-day snack items. There is a fully stocked and tended bar.

• A Productivity Zone with a desk-height counter with electrical outlets, as well as ergonomic chairs for business travelers seeking a workspace. Guests can use the available computer and printer or use their own computers.

• A Relax Zone with seating that enables guests to catch up on the news or socialize with fellow travelers.

• A Refresh Zone that includes a restroom, private shower facility and spa-quality soaps and lotions.

Karen Brune Mathis,  Editor
Jax Daily Record


Bolstered by strong 2018, JAA looks for flights to West Coast

December 18, 2018
By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority had a record year, helped by four carriers announcing a total of 16 new nonstop routes. Frontier, Allegiant (Nasdaq: ALGT), Spirit (Nasdaq: SAVE) and Southwest (NYSE: LUV) all added routes from Jacksonville International Airport in 2018.
New destinations include Dallas, Las Vegas, Denver and more, but the aviation authority has its sights set on new routes to the West Coast, Caribbean and even across the Atlantic. JAA Marketing Program Manager Greg Willis and JAA Marketing Director Barbara Halverstadt discussed JIA's growing destinations with the Business Journal.

How was JIA able to add so many routes this year?

Willis: Some of it was years of airline meetings coming to fruition. We've been talking with Spirit for four or five years, trying to get [Spirit] to come here with some routes. We fit into the fleet strategy of the airlines, so we benefited from that airline growth.

Halverstadt: With Allegiant, it took about four years with them... That opened up a door I think with Frontier, once they saw Allegiant's success. Now it's Spirit starting.

How optimistic are you about adding routes next year?

Halverstadt: Spirit already announced two starting in February — Baltimore and Ft. Lauderdale. Southwest is going to make its Dallas Love Field — which currently is only a weekend route — in January, it will be a daily route. So we're already starting to see [new routes] trickle in.

What destinations are top of your wish list to add from JIA?

Halverstadt: West Coast of course, that's a really important one for us. We're talking to any carrier that will listen. Our research shows that the Los Angeles basin is the top unserved market from Jacksonville on a nonstop basis, and we are tied for second as their most unserved market, behind LaGuardia which is of course gate-constrained... We're trying to get someone to jump on that one. It's tough.

Willis: We know what the total market size looks like. What we don't know necessarily are what businesses in Northeast Florida either fly multiple times to Los Angeles during the year or drive to Orlando and fly... If we know that there are companies taking 200 trips a year to LA, that's helpful for us when we're pitching to the airlines. What we're trying to pin down is who are the corporations that need that service.

Halverstadt: And it's not just Los Angeles. San Francisco is the second largest, San Diego is not far behind that. Phoenix is also very close. Those are all markets that we're trying to get service.
In terms of international, that's a little tougher. Of course San Juan has been where we've had the most volume in the past, but trans-Atlantic, that's a really tough one. I know there's a lot of connections with London, of course, and Frankfurt. It's a tough market when we don't really have a high number of daily or weekly passengers going to either of those, and those are the top two from Jacksonville. As the new aircraft come online, the [Boeing 787] Dreamliner and some of those, that could change that picture a little bit, but right now, we're a little bit out of range for a narrow body plane.

Have the added routes and this year's record passenger count accelerated plans to add infrastructure like parking?

Willis: We're taking a long, hard look at everything. It's a discussion that's being had internally. The first step is a master plan update and we're going through that process currently.
This interview was lightly edited for clarity and brevity.


Comfort dog brings peace to Christmas Day travelers in Jacksonville

December 25, 2018 
Alexander Osiadacz
First Coast News

Folks at Jacksonville International Airport got a bit of relief from the travel stress Christmas Day with a comfort dog on-hand to put their minds at ease before their flight. 

It’s part of a program that the airport started just a few months ago with holiday travelers in mind.

Roaming the courtyard and concourse of the airport, Debbie Zahler and her pup Mookie bring comfort and joy this Christmas.

“Traveling is stressful for some folks, or the end point of their travel might be a stressful experience, so it’s nice to be able to bring something back to other folks,” Zahler said.

She’s been with Mookie since he was 9-weeks-old. The Border Collie is now pushing 13 years old with his graying whiskers. Once a competitor in agility events, Mookie is soaking-up retirement by keeping travelers calm.

The duo visits the airport for a few hours once or twice a month. Strolling along – giving help when and where they can.

“Sometimes you can see that some people are not interested in playing with the dog, some folks, as you saw, are involved on their phone or just not pet people, which is fine. Sometimes you see a sort of smile come to their face especially when we’re out in the concourse,” Zahler said.

About a dozen dogs and handlers are part of the Jax Paws program, which launched over the summer -- a concept seen at airports across the country.

The training is extensive not only for her furry friend but Zahler as well. Their outfit – special too.

“Identification for the dogs, you see Mookie’s got a vest and I’ve got a vest. They’re always visible,” Zahler said.

She added the pair still gets to enjoy the holiday, but to her, Christmas is a time to give back.

“I have traveled on business significantly over my career and I know what that’s like, and it’s really nice to have an animal to love on and pet and that sort of stuff,” Zahler said.

Making the holiday a bit less hectic.


Press Releases

Major Renovation Project to Start in Jacksonville International Airport Parking Garages

April 18, 2019

Beginning Friday, April 19, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) initiates a major repair and refurbishment project in the airport parking garages, resulting in temporary closures to portions of the facilities as work progresses. Work begins in the Hourly Garage and will continue through the Daily Garage.

The first section of the Hourly Garage closing to public parking is the southside of the 3rd and 4th floor, and the departure level entrance to the garage. For the duration of the project, customers should follow posted signage to access available parking.

Once work in that area is completed and reopened, other areas of the parking garage will close incrementally for refurbishment until the project is completed in late-2020.

Passengers are advised to allow additional time to find parking, in case their first option is not available. Arriving 2 hours before departure is recommended to ensure enough time for parking, check-in and getting through security.

For those people picking up arriving passengers, the cell phone lot offers free parking until the passenger is at the arrivals curb.

For airport parking questions, please call the parking lot office at 904-741-2277.


Jacksonville Airports Contribute $6 Billion to the Florida Economy

April 3, 2019 – A new economic impact study by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) found that Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s (JAA) four-airport system contributes more than $6 billion annually to the local economy.

The Florida Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study measured the benefits of on-airport impacts, visitor spending impacts, and multiplier impacts of Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX), Cecil Airport, and Herlong Recreational Airports.

“As this FDOT study shows, our aviation system is a significant contributor to Northeast Florida’s economy,” said JAA CEO Mark VanLoh. “The expected growth at each of our four airports will continue fueling the region’s financial health.” 

The report was prepared as part of the Florida Aviation System Plan’s (FASP) 2018 update and provided the estimated annual economic impact on Florida’s 20 commercial service airports, 100 public-use general aviation airports, and 11 military aviation facilities. A total economic impact of $175 billion dollars is generated annually by aviation in Florida.

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) generates $3,194,422,000, the highest economic impact of the four airports the JAA operates. It supports 26,396 jobs generating a payroll of close to one billion dollars. The airport also offers educational tours and an internship program through local colleges.

The Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX) created 885 jobs, establishing a payroll of close to $33 million and provides an economic impact of over $100 million. Given its location between downtown Jacksonville and the beach, the airport attracts corporate and business users, and is home to several flight schools.

Cecil Airport provides Northeast Florida with an economic impact of close to $3 billion, over 11,000 jobs and a total payroll of close to $700 million. Cecil Airport is a public joint civil-military airport and spaceport serving military aircraft, corporate aircraft, general aviation, and air cargo.

Herlong Recreational is JAA’s smallest airport but still provides Florida with an economic impact of $52,471,000 and created 379 jobs with a total payroll of over $16 million.  This airport has been Northeast Florida’s primary location for light sport aircraft, skydiving, gliders, and other experimental aircraft since the 1960’s. It is home to the Soaring Society Glider Club and supports a private charter company, a flight school, skydiving business, and a maintenance shop.

For more information about the economic impact studies, visit

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) Among Best North American Airports for Customer Satisfaction

March 6, 2019 

The Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association ofthe world’s airports, announced the winners of the 2018 Airport Service Quality(ASQ) Awards and JAX Airport ranked among the best North American Airports for customersatisfaction. 

“Despite challenges brought on by record growth, the JAX airport communityincreased efforts to deliver world-class service to more passengers than anyyear in our history,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Mark VanLoh said.“Looking toward the future, we believe ongoing facility upgrades will ensurecontinued customer satisfaction.”

The ASQ program is unique asthe airport industry’s only global benchmarking program measuring overallsatisfaction of passengers at the airport. The statistically-valid survey ofpassengers covers over 30 areas of the customer service experience includingcheck-in, security, wayfinding, food & beverage, cleanliness, and more. Theresulting database allows for a comprehensive analysis of the customer serviceexperience at each participating airport.

2018 ASQ results place ASQAwards winners among the world’s best airports for the quality of theircustomer service experience.

JAX shares the award for the NorthAmerican airports serving 5-15 million annual passengers with Indianapolis and SanAntonio.

Jacksonville International Airport Sets New Record for Annual Passenger Traffic

January 24, 2019 – The Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) announced that Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) passenger traffic reached a new high in 2018, its 50th anniversary year. The 6,460,253 travelers eclipsed the previous record of 6,319,501, set in 2007. Additionally, seven of the 12 months of 2018 set records for monthly passenger traffic at JAX.

“This is an excellent milestone for our organization and Jacksonville as a whole,” said JAA CEO Mark VanLoh. “It’s reflective of the quality work done by the entire JAA team as well as Jacksonville’s status as a dynamic and attractive city.”

The 6.4 million passengers represent a nearly 900,000-passenger increase over 2017, a 16% bump. VanLoh attributes the growth to a number of factors, including carriers adding new destinations, increased flight frequency to existing destinations, larger aircraft flying existing routes, and Frontier and Spirit airlines starting service at JAX.

Moving forward into 2019, JAA expects continued growth as well as customer service enhancements. Southwest has transitioned from weekend-only seasonal service to daily nonstop service to Dallas-Love Field; Spirit starts daily nonstop service to Baltimore and Fort Lauderdale on February 14; Frontier nonstop service to Raleigh-Durham begins April 30; and “The Club JAX”, a shared-use lounge, is expected to open in the terminal during the early summer.

Frontier Airlines Adds New Flight from JAX

January 8, 2019

Frontier Airlines is adding another non-stop destination from Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). 

Beginning April 30, Frontier will operate three weekly flights to Raleigh-Durham (RDU), North Carolina, on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, using an A320 aircraft.

The airline currently offers non-stop service to Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Chicago O’Hare, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Trenton.  

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