Sat, May 25, 2024

Augusta airport prepping for this year’s tournament

The countdown has started at Augusta Regional Airport heading into Masters Week 2024.

The first indication of what to expect came in an announcement from Delta Airlines just days before the Aviation Commission’s monthly meeting.

Delta, one of the two airlines that provides daily service at Augusta airport, announced nine routes, six of which are new, with more than 1,300 seats daily to Augusta. That represents nearly double the level of service.

The expanded schedule will feature new routes from Washington, D.C., Boston, and Austin. There will be flights from New York’s JFK Airport, as well as from Palm Beach and Orlando in Florida. Delta will resume flights from Detroit and New York’s LaGuardia Airport and expand service from Atlanta.

“Delta will provide golf enthusiasts worldwide with increased access to the game with over 200 convenient one-stop connections to Augusta through our leading hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Boston, and now notably via JFK, where Delta operates a robust global network,” said Joe Esposito, Delta’s S.V.P. of Network Planning in a statement announcing the flights. “And as an official partner again this year, customers can expect a Delta experience that goes beyond the flight, from takeoff to the greens in Augusta.”

More airline service means more money coming into Augusta Regional.

Elizabeth Giles, Construction Project Manager, briefs members of the Augusta Aviation Commission.

“We will sell more fuel, people will buy concessions, use taxis and ground transportation and Ubers,” Herbert Judon, Jr., Executive Director of the airport, told ABD, adding it will also generate money for the federal Airline and Airway Trust Fund (AATF). “When people buy airline tickets and they come into your airport, there’s money that goes into the federal trust fund. Also, there are user fees that we get here locally like passenger facility fees that actually stay here locally. So, there’ll be a lot of airport revenues generated, as well as residual revenues around the town.”

Funds paid into the AATF help finance investments in air travel, such as upgrades to the air traffic control system, along with construction and safety improvements at the airports.

Augusta Regional has started a major construction project that will expand the east end of the terminal building. The area around Gates 3 and 4 is being enclosed. It will add 2,000 square feet to the building.

“We’re going to be dealing with construction this year, but we’ve started our Masters planning meetings, and we think a lot of things are going to go a lot better,” Judon said. “We’ve got the rental car facility, so we’ll be able to park and service rental cars across the street, which will give us a lot more capacity over here on this side. Our airlines and our partners like TSA, they’ve started their planning processes. They bring in additional people from other stations to help them. So, they’ve started that process.”

Enclosing Gates 3 and 4 will also mean new equipment, including boarding bridges for passengers instead of them walking out to the aircraft.

“The jet bridges will be delivered around February 20 with a training date scheduled for March 14,” Elizabeth Giles, the airport’s Senior Construction Project Manager, told aviation commission members. “That gives us plenty of time to test and work everything out. We will have contingencies for the whole room to be safe and usable. It may not be as pretty as it normally is. We won’t be complete, but it will be usable.”

American Airlines, Augusta Regional’s other service provider, has announced it will have flights to Augusta from Phoenix, Philadelphia, Miami, LaGuardia, Orlando, Boston, and Austin in addition to the regular service to Washington, D.C., Dallas-Fort Worth, and Charlotte.

Delta’s expanded service will run from April 7 through April 15.

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