Flying to or from Jacksonville International Airport? Anxiety and frustration certainly won’t be symptoms of the travel experience as an article in Jacksonville Business Journal highlights its #1 ranking for customer service for the second straight year. The designation, awarded by Airports Council International and voted on by customers at nearly 350 airports, measure check-in, security, ease of directions, food and beverage options and more.
JIA CEO Steve Grossman recognized that each airport employee plays a role in the experience “whether [they are] an airline employee, custodial staff or a restaurant server,” adding that through the insight obtained by customers who fly in and out of JIA provides “a roadmap for future improvements.”
The popularity of the region as a destination for business or pleasure is being recognized by the airlines as well. In the last six months, airlines have announced new and expanded routes between JIA and Chicago O’Hare, Philadelphia, Denver, Cincinnati, Austin and Trenton, NJ.
Embraer Defense & Security, a Jacksonville aircraft manufacturer, received an order from the U.S. Air Force to build an additional six A-29 Super Tucanos to be used by Afghan pilots for counterinsurgency operations and airborne self-defense for their government.
The new order comes after Embraer previously delivered 20 of the light-air-support-planes built at its facility at Jacksonville International Airport to be used in Afghanistan. The original contact was worth $427 million.
The first A-29 built in Jacksonville was completed in September 2014, and there are currently over 70 employees who work at the site where they have also built six A-29s for the Republic of Lebanon.
The Jacksonville facility specializes in building the Super Tucanos and will continue to bid for future contracts to keep the operation moving, said Alyssa Ten Eyck, a spokeswoman for Embraer – a partner company of the Sierra Nevada Corporation.
“We believe this decision demonstrates that the A-29 Super Tucano is the best aircraft for close air support operations, as well as the most proven, reliable and cost-effective solution for counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios,” said Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer.
More information can be found in the Florida Times-Union article.
Florida ranks second among the 50 states for having the best business climate, according to a new survey of U.S. corporate executives released at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual conference.
Texas ranked first, Georgia ranked third, followed by South Carolina and North Carolina, respectively.
Conducted by the Development Counsellors International (DCI) every three years, the “Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing” survey has tracked trends in economic development since its inception in 1996.
Florida is in the No. 2 spot with 22 percent of the respondents naming it as the state with having the most favorable business climate.
Respondents who named Florida mentioned the state’s pro-business environment, favorable tax climate and its strategic location.
Southwest Airlines Company 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.
Will Robinson – Jacksonville Business Journal