On June 17, 1979, Delta Air Service (now Delta Air Lines) conducted its first passenger flight. The flight initiated in Dallas, Texas and terminated at Davis Field (now known as Hawkins Field) in Jackson, Mississippi. This initial route had two stops along the way: one in Shreveport, Louisiana and the other in the city in which the company was headquartered at the time–Monroe, Louisiana. The air line soon extended its service to Birmingham, Alabama.
Aviation in Jackson began in 1928 with the purchase of 151 acres of pasture land in the City of Jackson known then as Davis Stock Farm, for the sum of $53,500. Davis Field, Jackson’s first airport was dedicated November 9, 1928. Delta Airlines made its first commercial flight that year beginning in Dallas landing in Jackson and several other cities on their way to Atlanta.
In 1936 the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA), Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) invested $62,150 to improve the airport with the construction of a terminal building and paving of an apron for aircraft parking. In 1941 the airfield was officially named Hawkins Field after A.F.Hawkins, a city commissioner with an interest in aviation. In that same year, the field became the “Jackson Air Base” initially used by the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School, where Dutch military flyers in exile during the occupation of the Netherlands were trained for the war effort.
Hawkins Field served as Jackson’s primary airport until the construction of the Jackson Municipal Airport (now Jackson-Evers International Airport) in 1963.
Hawkins Field now serves as Jackson’s general aviation facility.
For more information about this first flight, visit Delta’s Blog Post.
For a glimpse of the aircraft used for this flight, visit Delta’s Flickr Page.