Tunica Municipal Airport
Tunica Municipal Airport
|Owner||Tunica County Airport Commission|
|Elevation AMSL||194 ft / 59 m|
Tunica Municipal Airport (IATA: UTM, ICAO: KUTA, FAA LID: UTA, formerly M97) is a public use airport located one nautical mile (2 km) east of the central business district of Tunica, in Tunica County, Mississippi, United States. It is owned by the Tunica County Airport Commission. Also known as Tunica Airport, it should not be confused with the 10 acre privately owned, public use Tunica Airport (FAA LID: 30M) located 2 nautical miles (4 km) south of the center of town, which has been recently changed to Ralph M Sharpe Airport.
As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 59,795 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 64,238 enplanements in 2009, and 65,907 in 2010. It has not had scheduled commercial airline passenger service since 2011. This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation facility.
Although most U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, Tunica Municipal Airport is assigned UTA by the FAA and UTM by the IATA (which assigned UTA to Mutare Airport in Mutare, Zimbabwe).
Development and improvement of the facility, located in the southern portion of the Memphis Metropolitan Area, has increased dramatically since the 1990s. Tunica Municipal is considered as one of the multiple beneficiaries of sales tax revenue generated by the addition of casinos to the county, following approval by the Mississippi Legislature to introduce gaming houses. The growth of the Tunica Resorts region into the third largest gaming destination behind Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, aided efforts to expand air service beyond charter flights.
The airport opened in 2003 with a 5,500-foot runway. A $5.6 million project in 2004 extended the runway length to 7,000 feet, long enough to accommodate larger aircraft.
In 2005, Tunica received its Part 139 certification to allow large jets from the Federal Aviation Administration. The first large jet, a 125-passenger Boeing 737 operated by Gold Transportation for Harrah's Entertainment, landed in Tunica in November 2005. Prior to this flight, the largest flight that had landed in Tunica had 30 passengers. In May 2006, Boston-Maine Airways operating as Pan Am Clipper Connection, began Tunica's first scheduled service with three Boeing 727 flights per week from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. That service ended in 2006 when the airline lost its routes from Atlanta.
Casino charters continue to fly into Tunica growing passenger traffic despite the loss of the Clipper Connection service. In 2007, the airport had nearly 50,000 charter passengers. The charter traffic continued to grow with the announcement that Allegiant Airlines, would base under a contract with Harrah's Entertainment, to base two Allegiant aircraft at Tunica to ferry customers to Tunica, New Orleans, St. Louis and Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 2008, total passenger traffic to Tunica was more than 70,000 people.
Tunica completed a $40 million project to extend the runway to 8,500 feet, extend the taxiway and build a new hangar. The airport is working on a new terminal building which is expected to be completed in 2010.[needs update] The passenger terminal will replace the temporary terminal building which has been in operation since the airport opened.
AirTran Airways began nonstop flights from Tunica to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on May 6, 2010 with Boeing 717 aircraft. It was the airport's first commercial service since 2006. However, AirTran ended service on May 2, 2011. Vision Airlines launched service to Destin/Fort Walton on June 1, 2011 but dropped the route a few months later leaving the airport with no commercial scheduled service. Republic Airlines opened charter service a few years later from Youngstown, Ohio, a route now operated by Elite Airways.
Facilities and aircraft
Tunica Municipal Airport covers an area of 863 acres (349 ha) at an elevation of 194 feet (59 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 17/35 with an asphalt surface measuring 8,500 by 150 feet (2,591 x 46 m).
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2011, the airport had 10,257 aircraft operations, an average of 28 per day: 89% general aviation, 9% scheduled commercial, 2% air taxi, and <1% military. At that time there were 10 aircraft based at this airport: 70% single-engine, 20% multi-engine, and 10% jet.
- FAA Airport Master Record for UTA ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
- Tunica Airport, official web site
- "IATA Airport Code Search (UTM: Tunica Municipal)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- Tunica Airport Information Archived 2008-04-22 at the Wayback Machine
- FAA Airport Master Record for 30M ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
- "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
- "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- "Tunica Municipal Airport (IATA: UTM, ICAO: KUTA, FAA: UTA)". Great Circle Mapper.
- "Mutare, Zimbabwe (IATA: UTA, ICAO: FVMU)". Great Circle Mapper.
- Maki, Amos (July 9, 2004). "Extended runway may lure low-fare carrier to Tunica". Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- Robertson, Rob (September 29, 2005). "Airlines Closer to Tunica Reality". Memphis Commercial Appeal, printed at RedOrbit.com. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- "First MajorAircraft for Tunica's New Airport" (PDF). Press release, Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau. November 10, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 8, 2007. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- "Casinos seeking replacement for Pan Am 727 service". Associated Press, published in USA Today. October 23, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- "Pan Am Connection Clipper completes first flight to Tunica". Memphis Business Journal. May 1, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- Roberts, Jane (December 20, 2007). "Tunica hopes for more flights". Memphis Commercial Appeal. Retrieved May 17, 2009.
- Heath, Trey (May 30, 2008). "Tunica Airport ready for takeoff with funds to begin $19 million terminal construction". Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- Tunica Airport, official site
- Tunica Air Center, the fixed-base operator (FBO)
- Total Air Group (aircraft maintenance services)
- FAA Terminal Procedures for UTA, effective January 2, 2020
- Resources for this airport: