- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (AP) - A city-owned airport in Lawrence County will lose its military contract unless the military reconsiders its decision not to renew.

The Walnut Ridge Airport would have to sell 50,000 gallons of jet fuel to the military every year to retain the contract, airport manager Michelle Anthony said. The airport risks losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel sales if the contract isn’t renewed before its expiration in March, she said.

Each year, the public-use airport sells 67,000 gallons of jet fuel, half of which goes to the military, The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/1Gr3b80 ) reported.

“There’s nothing we can do … If we don’t get our contract back it will be hard on us, but we’ll still be here,” Anthony said.

The airport hopes applying some political pressure will prompt the military to have a change of heart.

Anthony has received letters of recommendation from two military bases. She has also contacted the offices of Congressman Rick Crawford and U.S. Sen. John Boozeman.

The Arkansas National Guard purchases fuel and also conducts training missions at the airport. Military aircraft from Fort Knox, Fort Campbell and other bases stop by the airport to buy fuel during cross-country trips, Anthony said.

The airport is concerned military aircraft will stop coming if it loses the contract. Although it’s unclear how the airport would have to cut costs, Anthony said it would have to make some big changes.

“I really hope we’re able to keep this … It will be a big loss if we can’t,” Anthony said.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com

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