Current Feature Stories

Jacksonville International Airport Arts Commission: Abstraction — Bold + Beautiful

October 23, 2017
Kalee Ball

Abstract art is made for emotion. It’s open and free, a democratic form made for the artist to interpret their feelings and for the viewer to interpret from there. It makes the viewer question what it represents, if anything at all. It’s a surprising art form, and sometimes the most surprising thing about it is where it’s located.

The Haskell Gallery, located in the Jacksonville International Airport pre-security, has been housing art for over 20 years. Its newest addition is Abstraction: Bold Beautiful, showcasing abstract works by three local artists. “This show is one of the most exciting public arts demonstrations I’ve ever made,” says Jen Jones Murray, Program Coordinator of the JIA Arts Commission. The exhibit gives Jacksonville residents pride for their city, and visitors a taste of what the Bold City is like aesthetically. It offers fearless works and daring colors. It challenges them to open their minds and think of Jacksonville in a new way. The exhibit features painter Rob Middleton, painter Cynthia Walburn and installation artist Stephanie Cafcules.

“I like to think there are elements of conflict and resolution in my paintings.”

Rob Middleton’s paintings are swaths of deep colors, zig-zagging lines and broad brush strokes. Viewers can try to follow them with their eyes, but will likely get lost when one meets a pool of a different color or a jagged line. They’ll wake up from a trance and fall into the next painting a few steps later. Middleton hopes that viewers will be inspired and challenged creatively, and that they will then find peace through his works. “I like to think there are elements of conflict and resolution in my paintings,” Middleton says. But that being said, he doesn’t want to mandate how people react to them. “I think it’s important to stress that people can interact with art on their own terms,” he says. “I’m trying to make pieces that are open and free, that you can see as much as you want in or nothing at all.” He added that the paintings may even be an antidote, for some, in the face of all the messaging we are constantly receiving.  

The paintings may even be an antidote, for some, in the face of all the messaging we are constantly receiving.

Cynthia Walburn’s paintings are smooth and contemplative, resembling pools of water with light shining through. Walburn creates shadows that feel as though they could glimmer in the corner of your eye. She is constantly inspired by nature, and uses painting as a personal meditation. Born in Southern California and growing up in South Florida, Walburn has always lived near the water. She is inspired by the way light reflects off the water, how sunlight affects colors in the sky and the way the wind affects dunes on the beach. Walburn reflects nature in a subtle ways. She paints from a meditative and introspective place, in order to reflect the internal, not the external. “My hope for people looking at the work is that they’ll have their own interpretation and their own experience, and that I’m not dictating what they see,” Walburn says.

Stephanie Cafcules, Haskell Gallery,Jacksonville International Airport Arts Commission A Bold Beautiful Abstractions, Photo from Jen JonesStephanie Cafcules’ installations are mind-bending. In one, a layer of royal blue paint is draped across a table, resembling a glossy tablecloth that might pool into your shoes. Cafcules calls these her paint pours. She lets thick layers of paint dry and then works with it like fabric. Another resembles a glacier, jutting out from a wall. She is diverse and skilled. Her pieces are based on the psychological phenomenon known as pareidolia, in which the mind responds to unfamiliar stimulus by trying to find familiar patterns in it. “Like when you see animals in the clouds or faces on rock formations,” she explains. Cafcules’ only installs her work once she’s allowed to see the space she’ll be working in. At JIA, she’ll be installing one extensive piece. According to Murray, Cafcules will create an abstract wonderland, as it will be the corner of the L-shaped gallery. Cafcules knows she’ll be using wire mesh screen, but other than that doesn’t know what she’s going to create. A preview of her idea is bright blue, coiled, and ribbon-like. It’s a material not seen on her website, so the exhibit will be a completely new side of Cafcules. She hopes the exhibit will offer travelers a different perspective. “Maybe one of these pieces will open their minds a little bit more. Because I know non-representational and abstract is not necessarily for everybody,” she says. “But all of our pieces complement each other.”

Each artist is accomplished in the art world. Middleton has works in the private collection of Preston Haskell, for whom the gallery is named. Walburn recently completed a commission for Two Creeks Restaurant that encompasses an entire wall. Cafcules has been featured in countless galleries over the years, whether it be for her encompassing, instinctive installations or her mind-bending sculpture.


New aviation authority chairwoman wants to 'dazzle, delight'

October 4, 2017
By Will Robinson  –  Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Giselle Carson, a business immigration attorney and former president of the Jacksonville Bar Association, was unanimously elected chairwoman of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Sept. 25.

Carson has been a board member since her appointment by Governor Rick Scott in March 2014. She is replacing Patrick Kilbane as chair of the seven-member board. Kilbane will remain a board member.

Carson spoke with the Business Journal about what she hopes to accomplish as chairwoman.

What does being elected chairwoman mean to you?

It's a Wonderful opportunity. I'm grateful for their confidence in me. I've progressively taken various roles on the board, culminating into this role as chairman. Being able to say I contribute to that is just awesome, and I'm grateful for the opportunity.

What are some things you hope to build on at JAA?

I believe that the management team is extremely knowledgeable. That really makes the role of chairperson much easier. I look forward to continue to build on what they're already doing.

JAA is the front door of the city in many ways as people travel into the city. I want to dazzle and delight our community and our visitors. I want them to be wowed by the efficiency and the friendly service.

What are some challenges the aviation authority is facing?

I don't know that this is necessarily a challenge, but it's something that is going to be a focus of the board. That is the continuous growth at Cecil (Airport). That area is growing significantly. The Amazon facility is near there. It certainly brings more activity to the area. So that's going to be a focus and an area that I'm going to be dealing with in the next year.

What experiences have prepared you for this role?

I think part of the reason the governor appointed me to (the board) is because I bring in a diverse representation to the board (as the first Hispanic female board member). I think I bring diversity to the board in how we see things and think about things.

I think those leadership roles (president of Jacksonville Bar Association and president of First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) and community relations and experiences will help me contribute to the board and JAA.


These are the new Jacksonville routes Frontier Airlines is adding

September 26, 2017
By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Here's some great news for frequent fliers: Frontier Airlines is adding new flights from Jacksonville International Airport to four cities.

Beginning next year, the low-fare carrier will add non-stop service to Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver and Philadelphia, with tickets going for as low as $39.

"Frontier's arrival at JAX means more low fares for Northeast Florida travels," said Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman. "Today's announcement also provides our travelers with more choices when they fly."

Here's a list of the new routes:

F9 1285 Depart JAX: 2:58 p.m. Arrive ORD: 4:46 p.m. 
F9 1286 Depart ORD: 10:53 a.m. Arrive JAX: 2:08 p.m. 
Frequency: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Service Start: May 10

F9 1955 Depart JAX: 5:15 p.m. Arrive CVG: 7:11 p.m. 
F9 1954 Depart CVG: 2:39 p.m. Arrive JAX: 4:24 p.m. 
Frequency: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Service Start: April 8

F9 0473 Depart JAX: 11:22 a.m. Arrive DEN: 1:19 p.m. 
F9 0858 Depart DEN: 3:59 p.m. Arrive JAX: 9:10 p.m. 
Frequency: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Service Start: Feb. 14

F9 0858 Depart JAX: 10:00 p.m. Arrive PHL: 12:12 a.m. 
F9 0473 Depart PHL: 4:30 a.m. Arrive JAX: 7:05 a.m. 
Frequency: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Service Start: Feb. 14

Visit for additional details.


Jacksonville airport adds new flights

September 26, 2017
By Will Robinson  –  Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Frontier Airlines announced Tuesday that will offer seasonal flights to Chicago-O'Hare and Philadelphia from Jacksonville International Airport next year.

The low-fare carrier announced previously that it would also offer flights to Denver and Cincinnati from JIA. Fares will start at $39.

“We are excited to expand our commitment to the Jacksonville community with more low cost flight options,” said Tyri Squyres, vice president of marketing for Frontier Airlines.

Flights to Chicago and Cincinnati will be offered three days a week, and flights to Denver and Philadelphia will be offered four days a week. Flights to Denver and Philadelphia will begin Feb. 14, to Cincinnati Apr. 8 and to Chicago May 10. Tickets are available now.

“Frontier’s arrival at JAX means more low fares for Northeast Florida travelers,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said. “Today’s announcement also provides our travelers with more choices when they fly.”


Airlines carry record number of passengers, Jacksonville airport shows signs of recovery

Sep 18, 2017 
Will Robinson, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

U.S. Airlines carried 414.4 million passengers in the first six months of 2017, a record high, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The passenger count is a 2.8 percent jump from the previous record, which was set last year.

Of these, 360.9 million or 87 percent flew domestically, and 53.5 million flew internationally. Both figures are also record highs.

Jacksonville International Airport carried 1.3 million passengers so far this year, a decrease of less than one percent from the first half of 2016. Almost 15 percent fewer passengers flew through the airport than a decade ago, but the passenger count has rebounded in recent years.

JIA bore the brunt of industry changes over the last decade. As airlines consolidated or went bankrupt, the airport lost airlines and flights.

Additionally, airlines now require planes to be more full to fly. In 2007, 77 percent of seats on JIA flights were sold, but that number rose to 83 last year.

Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE: LUV) announced this month it would start new flights from the airport beginning in April 2018.


Southwest adding flights from Jacksonville airport

Sep 4, 2017 
Will Robinson, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

Southwest Airlines Company (nyse: LUV) announced this week that it will offer three daily flights from Jacksonville to Ft. Lauderdale starting in April 2018.

The added route between two Florida cities stood out from the rest of Southwest's new routes, which all focused on California. Southwest's only other non-stop, daily routes added to a Florida city were routes from San Jose and Sacramento to Orlando.

"We're excited about Southwest's announcement because as they continue to grow in Fort Lauderdale, it means Northeast Florida travelers will have one easy connection point to destinations in Central America and the Caribbean," Greg Willis, marketing program manager for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, said by email.

Willis said the new flights will add approximately 2,000 weekly seats to the airport's flights, a 25 percent increase from their current service levels. The flights will add to the three daily flights to Fort Lauderdale currently offered by JetBlue.

Southwest expects the flights will be popular.

"We know this will be a key business and leisure route," Southwest spokesperson Dan Landson said by email. "Customers will be able to seamlessly connect to one of Southwest’s international flights from our new international gateway in Ft. Lauderdale."

Southwest currently offers nonstop flights from Jacksonville International Airport to Atlanta, Nashville, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Chicago and Dallas, according to Willis.


Firehouse opens first airport location, introduces breakfast options

July 10, 2017
Dahlia Ghabour
Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville-based restaurant Firehouse Subs has added a new concept to the lineup of the over 1,000 stores in operation in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The first airport Firehouse opened this week in the Jacksonville International Airport.

Firehouse has been interested in implementing stores in non-traditional locations recently, said CEO Don Fox. Airports are typically high-performing units with lots of traffic – and good for brand awareness.

“We expect that it’s going to be a high-volume location that will exceed the usual street side line,” Fox said. “The addition of breakfast is part of that, but we think the main menu activity is going to be higher. The continuous traffic throughout the day helps.”

The airport location is about 400 square feet, much smaller than the usual Firehouse, which led to some design reshuffling. It’s also the first Firehouse to offer breakfast options: breakfast sandwiches, oatmeals and grab-and-go items that are popular in airports.

Breakfast is available at a Puerto Rico location, but this is the first store in the U.S. that is offering it.

“We’re looking to demonstrate that our product, in that setting, is appealing to the customer,” Fox said. “This one is very special to us of course because it’s our hometown, which is really a coincidence because the first opportunity we had with a host was here in our backyard. We’re looking forward in this site to further relationships with our brand and strengthen it in an airport setting.”

Fox said that negotiations are in the works to put a Firehouse in the Orlando International Airport in the fall and hopes to see more airport locations in the future.

In Jacksonville, Firehouse is one of several changes at the airport. An Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop is soft opening today right next to the Firehouse, which is already in operation. In May, the airport introduced PGA Tour Grill to the space, too.

The airport’s restaurant operators try to refresh concepts or implement new ones twice a year, said Jeff Taylor, a business development manager at the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

“One of the goals of the concession program is to provide a sense of place that differentiates JIA from other airports,” Taylor said. “Firehouse applies a unique sense of feel to each location with the murals and their team provides unique characteristics of the city. To be able to have its first airport location and first breakfast menu is something we’re very proud of.”

The Firehouse will include the same quality ingredients and style that any Firehouse would, Fox said, including the recently introduced new packaging. Now halfway through 2017, the company is right on track in its goal to open 100 stores during the year, with another 50 to 60 restaurants scheduled during the balance.


Jacksonville airport opens aviation history museum

June 13, 2017
By Staff

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) has opened the first phase of its new exhibit, “Jacksonville Takes Flight: North Florida Aviation History from 1878 to 1941.”

Featuring the area’s aviation milestones and memorabilia from an era when Florida was sparsely populated and Jacksonville was the state’s “big city,” the new space also allows travelers to view aircraft movement on the ramp.

Phase I of the exhibit begins on Jan. 28, 1878, when a hot air balloon containing one man was sighted floating a “mile high” over the city at 5 p.m., and ends on the eve of World War II, when the military created bases bigger than most Florida cities.

Phase II of the gallery exhibit will begin at the end of World War II, and conclude with the most recent accomplishments. This phase should be completed in 2018, when JAX celebrates its 50th anniversary at its current location.

In addition to a wall mural featuring highlights and photos of significant events in Jacksonville’s aviation history, seven cases display a variety of aviation artifacts. Travelers can also access interactive display monitors that reveal more interesting information about our area’s long term relationship with aviation.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy the pre-security museum located next to the center courtyard food court. It is open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight.


Jacksonville International Airport To Raise Daily Parking Rates

MAY 23, 2017

Parking fees at Jacksonville International Airport will be going up June 1. 

The maximum rate for the hourly lot closest to the airport terminal will go from $18 to $20 per day.

The airport also plans to start charging $2 per half hour instead of $1.50 for each 20 minutes.  The first half hour will now be free, however.

Airport spokesman Michael Stewart said the new half-hour rate provides a small break for the people he calls "meeters-and-greeters."

"So if they’re only there for an hour or two, their max with the 30 minutes free is basically $5,” he said.

Stewart said that works out to be 50 cents less than the airport currently charges for the same amount of time.

The maximum fee for the daily parking garage will go up a dollar to $15 per day, while the cost for the surface lot will go up to $9 per day.  

Stewart said they made the decision to raise the maximum daily parking rates because the economy has been getting stronger.

The last time airport parking fees were increased was in 2011.


Jacksonville airport checkpoint finds weird and dangerous items in carry-on bags

May 25, 2017
By David Bauerlein

At Jacksonville’s International Airport’s security checkpoint, there’s no telling what strange and dangerous stuff Transportation Security Administration workers will find.

In carry-on bags they’ve seen guns — some loaded — and replicas of guns. They’ve seen knives and brass knuckles. One studded purse had brass knuckles welded to it. Then there are the head-scratcher items like a bright green bowling pin, a barbecue spatula and a power drill.

Those are some of the many items that passengers tried to bring with them through the security on their way to catch planes out of Jacksonville in the past year.

Even in an era when air travel comes with longstanding expectations that baggage will get scrutiny for everything including the size of shampoo containers, some travelers haven’t gotten the message about what’s allowed, officials said while showing off the taboo items Thursday at Jacksonville International Airport.

“They’re just not paying attention,” said Sari Koshetz of the Transportation Security Administration. “There’s a certain amount of stress that goes with traveling, and people unfortunately do not pay attention to what’s in the bag.”

She said TSA workers stopped passengers from taking 33 guns onto Jacksonville flights in 2016. One passenger tried to carry on 191 rounds of ammunition. So far this year, they’ve found 13 guns.

Passengers can face fines of up to $11,000 for bringing guns to checkpoints. They also can be arrested, depending on the policy of local law enforcement assigned to airports.

Koshetz said passengers traveling with guns must put them into checked baggage. Guns must be in locked, hard-sided cases. They must be unloaded and travelers must declare them to airlines at the check-in counter.

She said TSA agents give travelers the option of taking forbidden items back to their vehicles or checking their carry-on bags. If passengers refuse, TSA will take the items before passengers can proceed through security checkpoints.

While guns and knives are obvious red flags, other items can get caught in screenings. The bowling pin, for instance, is the kind of heavy object that can be used a bludgeon. The spatula that ended up on the display table at Thursday’s event has serrated edges that can be used like a knife.


TSA collects 12K pounds of prohibited items at Jacksonville airport

May 25, 2017
By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

What do a bowling pin, a spatula and a workout weight have in common?

They’re all items confiscated by Transportation Security Administration agents at the Jacksonville International Airport.

In just the last year, security has collected over 12,000 pounds of items from people trying to board planes in Jacksonville.

TSA agents in Jacksonville also stopped 33 firearms at the security checkpoint last year. Officials said bringing a gun to a security checkpoint can get you an $11,000 fine and possibly arrested.

To travel by air with a gun, it must be in a locked case, unloaded and checked in to the airline along with any ammunition.

While weapons are obviously prohibited items, security said some of the forbidden items they've collected aren't necessarily sharp, but can still be dangerous.

The rules include allowing only 3 ounces or less in carry-ons for liquids, toothpastes, creams and gels.
A list of prohibited items can be found at

There's also an "ask TSA" Twitter account where questions about prohibited items are answered in real time by representatives from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Officials said travelers can go back and leave prohibited items in a vehicle or have the items mailed to them through the airline.

Most people voluntarily release items to security because they don't have time to go back to their car or figure out alternatives.

Officials said they brought attention to the confiscated items ahead of the Memorial Day weekend to help speed up security check times, because a large amount of prohibited items can bog things down.

Atlanta airport officials are also aiming to speed things along for the holiday weekend.

According to a report from WALB in Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport officials have decided that 22 of the 28 lanes at the main security checkpoint for one of the nation's busiest airports will be “Smart Lanes” to reduce screening time.


Jacksonville International Airport parking rates will rise June 1

May 22, 2017 
By David Bauerlein

Parking rates at Jacksonville International Airport’s two garages and daily surface lot will increase on June 1, the first increases in airport parking rates since 2011. The rate for economy lots will stay the same.

Flyers using Jacksonville International Airport will pay more to park at the airport’s garages and daily surface lot starting June 1, the airport’s first rate increase for parking since 2011.

The higher parking rates are expected to generate an additional $2 million per year for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

The parking rate won’t change at the economy lots, though. The cost still will be $5 per day at those lots, which are farthest from the terminal.

“Best bargain in Florida,” authority CEO Steve Grossman said Monday of the economy lots. “There is no major commercial airport in Florida with rates lower than that. All our other rates are within the mainstream of Florida airports, and lower than some.”

The change in rates will apply to these parking facilities:

• The hourly garage, which is closest to the terminal, will increase to a maximum charge of $20 per day, up from $18 now. But beginning June 1, the authority will make the first 30 minutes free of charge in that garage, so for short-term parking, it’s worth checking out that option.

• The charge for the daily garage, which is next to the hourly garage, will be a maximum of $15 per day, up from $14.

• The daily lot, which is the surface lot immediately behind the garages, also will see a $1 per day increase bringing its cost to a maximum of $9 per day.

The aviation authority built the higher parking rates into the 2017-18 budget approved unanimously Monday by the board during its monthly meeting.

Parking revenue accounts for about one-fourth of the operating revenue the authority expects to collect for the next fiscal year.

The authority’s parking facilities face competition from private businesses that offer park-and-ride lots, as well as the growing use of ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber.

The authority reached agreement last month with Lyft to let it operate at Jacksonville International Airport. Lyft pays the aviation authority a fee of $3.25 per pickup for rides that go through the airport.

Grossman told the board he’s confident that talks with Uber will result in a similar agreement for that company to legally operate at the airport.

“It’s a reflection of reality,” he said. “This is what our customers want.”

He said the arrangement with Lyft is the same kind of business relationship the authority has with other businesses that draw customers from the pool of people using the airport.

The 2017-18 capital improvement budget does not have any major construction projects for Jacksonville International Airport. The biggest item is $8.5 million to design and build a new 30,000-square-foot hangar at Cecil Airport on the Westside. Half the money will come from a state Department of Transportation grant.

No tenants are lined up yet for the hangar, but Grossman said that historically, the authority has been able to get the ball rolling and then get a tenant on board by the time construction is finished.

The hangar will be the first one built on the east side of Cecil Airport’s main runway.

“It’s a jumping-off point for development on that side, and we expect we will see future development out there,” Grossman said.


Lyft reaches transportation agreement with JAA

Apr 20, 2017
Derek Gilliam, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

Ridesharing company Lyft has reached an agreement with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority that will allow the company to pick up fares at the Jacksonville International Airport.

Ride-sharing companies are prohibited from picking up fares at Jacksonville's main airport until the agreement goes into effect May 1.

“Our customers, the traveling public, are requesting access to ridesharing companies like Lyft at the airport,” said JAA CEO Steve Grossman. “And even though the city of Jacksonville and the state of Florida have been exploring legislation to regulate transportation networking companies, we thought it best to proceed with an agreement that establishes rules and regulations and provides revenue to the airport.”

Lyft paid $5,000 to execute the agreement, Michael Stewart, JAA director of external affairs, told the Jacksonville Business Journal. There will be an additional $3.25 pick up fee for each fare piked up from JIA.

"We're excited to be the first transportation network company to operate at JAX and would like to thank Steve Grossman and his staff for their collaborative work in creating this partnership," said Kirk Safford, Lyft's Senior Manager of Airports and Venues, in a prepared statement.

Stewart said that while Lyft is the first, negotiations are ongoing with Uber.

The agreement also requires that lyft drivers have a valid Florida driver's license and automobile insurance. Also, all drivers will have to complete a criminal background check and a DMV record check. Their vehicles must also pass a 19-point inspection.

Lyft drivers will also use a technology that will ping the airport as it enters airport property, ensuring accurate record keeping, according to a JAA news release.


New agreement with JAA allows Lyft to legally pick up riders at Jacksonville airport

Apr 20, 2017
by: Nora Clark, Action News Jax

Lyft Inc. and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority have signed a contract to allow the ride sharing company to now legally pick up riders at the Jacksonville International Airport. 

Both the city of Jacksonville and the state of Florida are exploring legislation to regulate transportation networking companies like Lyft.

JAA CEO Steve Grossman told an Aviation Business editor that it was important to make this agreement with Lyft.

"Our customers, the traveling public, are requesting access to ridesharing companies like Lyft at the airport," Grossman said. "We thought it best to proceed with an agreement that establishes rules and regulations and provides revenue to the airport.”

The agreement between JAA and Lyft includes certain rules, including that Lyft drivers must have a valid Florida driver's license and have completed a DMV record check. 

The ride sharing company will also use Geo-Fence technology in order to keep accuracy of passenger drop offs and pick ups high. This is also a safety feature important to the airport and JAA  as the driver's phone will ping the airport when the vehicle arrives on the property, recording the activity. 

"This is an important transportation feature for our customers, and equally important protection for the airport and the authority,” JAA Chairman Patrick Kilbane told Aviation Business.

Lyft's senior manager of airports and venues Kirk Safford emphasized the importance of such regulations in the agreement and commended the Jacksonville Aviation Authority for the collaboration.

“We’re thrilled with this agreement that will bring Lyft’s safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options to the millions of passengers who travel through Jacksonville International Airport each year. We’re excited to be the first transportation network company to operate at JAX and would like to thank Steve Grossman and his staff for their collaborative work in creating this partnership,” the senior manager said.

The agreement goes into effect on May 1, and will continue through April 30 of 2018. 


Jacksonville JetPort finishes construction of their second hangar at Cecil Airport

Apr 12, 2017
Junior Skepple, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

Hangar 945, the 25,000-square-foot maintenance hangar at Cecil Airport was recently completed by Jacksonville Jetport

Jacksonville Jetport has recently completed the construction of a 25,5000-square-foot hangar at Cecil Airport, according to a spokesperson for the company. The hangar, also known as Hangar 945, will be used for aircraft maintenance.

JJP is the only fuel provider at Cecil Airport and the new facility will double its space. The first property was built in 2012 and was used solely for storage, but the new facility will expand JJP's capabilities at Cecil.

"Our first hangar was strictly at a storage hangar and what differentiates hangars is the kind of fire protection you have. The first hangar had basic water and fire protection, the second hangar has a full foam fire protection system which makes it a maintenance hangar," director of marketing and government liaison for Jacksonville Jetport Scott Morrison said. "If you want to get more business at Cecil you have to have the accommodations for the businesses and that requires building hangar space."

Jacksonville Jetport is not releasing how much the project cost, but Morrison said the project cost "in the neighborhood of $4 million." Hangar 945 is the second privately-funded hangar to be built at Cecil Airport. The new hangar has about 19,000 square feet of hangar floor space and 6,500 square feet of office space attached to the hangar portion of the facility. The planning and completion of the new hangar took about 18 months in total and the construction, which was done by Toney Construction Company, took a year.

The hangar does not have a tenant currently, but Morrison says they are close to signing a lease with a tenant and they expect to move the new tenant to move-in by June. Jacksonville Jetport said they have plans to build further on Cecil Airport property and those plans are in the beginning stages.


JAX hosts guide dogs in training; Pups learn proper protocol for flying

April 04, 2017
By Kent Justice - Reporter/11 p.m. anchor

Airports host biped travelers every day they’re open, but the Jacksonville International Airport on Tuesday hosted a group of four-legged friends in a training program that allowed K-9s into the airport and through security.

A group of dogs isn't exactly what you'd expect when you walk into the airport. Sandy the dog was in attendance with a school that was doing some training Tuesday as part of a program that helps them become guide dogs and help somebody throughout the rest of their life.

"It's amazing the work that the guide dogs do," said Thresa Shaver, area coordinator for Southeast Guide Dogs. "And it does take a very special dog to get into that program.”

The dogs are puppies working their way through various stages of a yearlong program of learning.

"Once they go back to the guides dogs school, (they're) really put through a battery of tests to make sure that they are not going to stress out for the work," Shaver said. "Sometimes they do -- they just decide they don't want to be a guide dog. That's when they'll career change them and put them in another career."

The pups were a huge hit at the airport, with lots of people taking a moment to pet them or say hi. And while they’re working hard at learning the proper protocol for flying, the pups, and the puppy trainers, know they’ll have a very meaningful mission to complete. There could also be some tears at the end of their year together.

"I've loved having him," puppy raiser Carrie Trammell said. "I love taking him places, and when we went to the school we got to see how it impacted someone's life -- someone who got a guide dog, so it's really worth it."

News4Jax asked the puppy raiser Nicole Trammell if she was going to need Kleenex the day she turns him in.

"Absolutely," Nicole Trammell said as she laughed. "When I turned Ted in, I cried for about a month straight afterward. It was hard, but you getting the dog, you know, the purpose in life is far and greater than just to be my pet, so it's doable."

The puppies range in age from 10 weeks to 1 year old.


When it comes to security, officials at JIA work to ‘harden the target’

March 19, 2017
Cassidy Alexander

Two or three times a week, authorities are called to investigate reports of suspicious people at Jacksonville International Airport. Calls about unattended luggage are nearly constant, they say.

“[Police] don’t mind investigating 100 false reports,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said, “because you never know when there’s going to be one real one.”

A 2013 incident at JIA was real enough. A man walked up to a TSA agent and said, “I got a bomb here.” Before it could be determined that he didn’t, hundreds of people had been evacuated and two-dozen flights canceled or rerouted.

Grossman, who oversees the entire Jacksonville airport system, said his staff continually participates in training exercises and communicates with other security agencies. The goal is to discourage JIA from being targeted in the first place.

“We basically try and harden the target, so to speak, and make it so that a terrorist will think twice before attacking us,” he said.

“Putting it bluntly, if a terrorist comes to the airport, he or she will probably carry out some terrorist activity,” Grossman said. “Our force will stop a person like that, but probably not before they’ve done something.

“You stop it via intelligence,” he said. “You don’t stop it when it pulls up to the terminal.”

Preparing for the worst

Jacksonville International was one of the first airports of its size to have an active shooter drill, Grossman said. The exercise held about 18 months ago involved 400 employees and volunteers, both within and outside the airport. Everyone had a chance to interact and see how things would play out in an actual emergency.

“When the firing started,” Grossman said, “I know I shook a bit.”

The drill was designed to prepare officials for the type of lone-gunman attack that has been seen in isolated incidents at major U.S. airports in recent years.

At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, a man opened fire in a baggage claim area. Five people were killed and more than 30 were injured.

On Nov. 1, 2013, a man moved through a terminal at LAX for 10 minutes with an assault rifle. He shot a TSA officer several times, killing him, before injuring three others.

A collaborative process

Grossman said all airport employees go through annual security training, consisting of an hour-long class, a background check and drills. There’s an on-site police force that works closely with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and other agencies for support and services it doesn’t have.

Aviation-security expert and professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver Jeffrey Price said it’s typical of smaller commercial airports like Jacksonville to rely on outside agencies for support.

“I think with Jacksonville, and every airport that size, I think a lot of them just do what they can,” Price said. “It comes down many times to how much time in the day is there. They have a lot of other things they have to manage.”

According to Price, airports in major cities are more likely to be targeted by terrorists.

“While [a terrorist attack is] unlikely in these smaller airports,” Price said, “I’d never want to say it’s impossible.”

Part of preparing to respond to all types of situations is examining what went wrong when an attack does happen at an airport.

“It’s always better to learn from other people’s mistakes than our own,” Grossman said.

Agencies share information about security measures and what works best. When incidents like those in Fort Lauderdale and at LAX do happen, there are discussions to see what lessons can be learned.

“We have to react to the latest threat that we didn’t anticipate or didn’t do enough about, but we always have to predict the next time,” Price said.

Continuous training and examining how to prevent attacks is only part of the safety system airports have in place – the help of the traveling public makes up a large component.

“If you’re at the airport,” Grossman said, “you’re part of that security program.”


What Do a CEO, an Airport and Golf Have In Common?

March 14, 2017

For Florida’s First Coast, golf and aviation are two symbiotic industries here—both are welcoming, and both are constantly connecting people. Recently we connected with Steve Grossman, Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA), to talk about a golfer’s airport in a golfer’s destination.

A Golfer’s Airport
Ranked first in the nation—among over 300 airports worldwide—for the Airport Service Quality Awards in 2016-2017, the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) has become the benchmark for customer service in the aviation industry.
Aside from being one of the most hospitable airports in the country, JAX is one of the most attractive airports for golfers flying in.

Here’s why:
No schlepping of golf clubs
Golfers don’t have to shuttle equipment or clubs. Ground transportation services are adjacent to baggage claim, making it convenient for golfers to land, go and golf. JAX is within close proximity to numerous golf courses.
(Jokingly) “My golf bag is full of all the things that don’t always work for me...but currently I have a Callaway Driver, 3-Wood, TaylorMade Hybrids and Irons and my Odyssey Putter in my bag.”

An airport with a golf mentality
Sam Snead’s Tavern, the PGA TOUR Grill (coming in Spring 2017) and the PGA TOUR Shop—where the Players have periodic book and autograph signings—pays homage to Floridians’ love of the game.

Grab and go…then golf
For travelers, there isn’t much of a desire for an over-abundance of time at the airport. Some hub airports provide golf simulators and other time killers to fill a three-hour layover; JAX is accessible with over 82 daily inbound flights, and is conveniently located near numerous golf courses. No need for fancy time fillers here….the real golf is waiting.
A Golfer’s Destination
“During Florida’s shoulder and off seasons, the strengths of our area are: 1. Golf  2. Eco-Tourism. During these seasons, if travelers aren’t coming on business, they are coming for golf or eco-tourism.”
Jacksonville has the most diverse economy in the state of Florida and Northeast Florida gives travelling golfers accessibility to several courses. Recently Florida’s First Coast of Golf was awarded the 2017 North American Golf Destination of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
Florida’s First Coast is one of the most attractive destinations for golfers.

Here’s why:

North Florida is home to THE PLAYERS Championship, one of the PGA Tour’s most coveted titles. The newly renovated Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass—Ponte Vedra’s most ambitious renovation project—this year, is now opened.

“For most of my life, “Arnie” was always my favorite golfer. I actually got to meet and speak with him at the First Tee Open in Pebble Beach in Monterey. Present day, I really enjoy watching Bubba Watson.”

You can easily afford to be a member of a nice course compared to the expensive offerings on the West Coast and other high-end locations. Golfers can pick their price point and play where they want.

Access of courses
For the most part, traversing locally from course to course typically takes around half an hour or less. Northeast Florida is home to numerous courses. You can take your pick from over 75 miles of coastal golf courses or play the same courses played by THE PLAYERS Championship, PGA and Champions Tour.

Diversity of courses
Northeast Florida provides golfers with access to pristine public and private courses—all are well maintained and offer a diversity of course options. The public courses here are pristine, offering beautiful cart rides through native live oak forests, dripping with spanish moss and large palm ground cover, and native florida wetlands.
“I play most of my golf at Deerwood Country Club but I also enjoy Pablo Creek Club, Palencia Club, Timuquana Country Club and several other public access courses. I like to play early… and often.  If I get the chance, I try to play every Saturday and get in about 100 rounds a year.”
Both golf and aviation connect people, but Northeast Florida golf and aviation connect people to true, one-of-a-kind experiences.

We’d like to thank Steve Grossman for sitting down with us to talk golf and flight! For traveler information, upcoming developments and more about the award-winning Jacksonville International Airport, visit here.


Air Canada to provide daily service from JAX Airport to Toronto this summer

Feb 7, 2017
Junior Skepple,Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority announced Monday that beginning June 14 Air Canada will offer daily non-stop flights to Toronto. This is an expansion of their current weekend-only service, which started May 2016.

The flights, offered once a day, provide customers with connections to European and other Canadian cities.

The updated schedule is now reflected on the Air Canada website.


Jacksonville International Airport Economy Lot 2 closed for overhaul

January 30, 2017
By Drew Dixon

One of the economy parking lots at Jacksonville International Airport is now closed for several months.

The Jacksonville International Aviation Authority in a prepared statement Monday said Economy Lot 2 has been shut down. The closure is in preparation for a new parking system that’s being installed at JIA.

Signage on Pecan Park Road will provide detours for travelers arriving at the airport. Most using economy parking will be directed to Economy Lot 1 which will remain operational as the new parking system is implemented.

Economy Lot 2 is only one of five public parking lots that will undergo the system overhaul at JIA that will range from replacement of gates, equipment payment systems.

Drew Dixon: (904) 359-4098.


Jacksonville International Airport closes a public parking lot for upgrades

Jan 30, 2017
Junior Skepple, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

One of the five public parking facilities at Jacksonville International Airport is now closed for renovations. The closure is expected to last several months.

Economy Lot 2 is closed in preparation for the installation of a new parking system. Improvements include replacement of all gates and equipment, ability to integrate with SunPass and easy payment using a pay-on-foot station in the terminal or upon exit. In addition, a new license plate recognition system will confirm parking time in the event of a lost ticket.

Once all vehicles exit the lot, crews will clean debris before the project begins in March.

Signage placed along Pecan Park Road will direct customers to park in Economy Lot 1 (E-1), which has parking spaces available. Free shuttle service between E-1 and the terminal will continue to operate as normal.

Anyone with questions or concerns may call the parking office at 904.741.2277.


Jacksonville International Airport launches new app

Jan 23, 2017
Junior Skepple, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal

The Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) launched their new “JAX AIRPORT” app, Monday.

The free app, available for both Android and iOS devices, is the hub for all things Jacksonville International Airport.

The app provides flight information, interactive maps, airport news and much more.

The app also lists shops and restaurants at JAX and shows maps of the ticketing, baggage claim and gate areas.

“We strive to enhance the airport experience for our passengers,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said. “With so many people using mobile devices, an airport-specific app seemed to fill a need.”

The app was developed to meet the needs of passengers desiring information on-the-go.

Ticket booking is not yet available through the app, but the app states this feature is coming soon.