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Augusta Regional Airport taking flight with event and overall growth

Augusta Regional Airport is hosting a free flight program in private planes on May 29th through a partnership with Owens Aircraft Services and The Brock Foundation. (Photo provided by ARA)

This Saturday a local company and a foundation are providing area students a chance to take to the friendly skies at no cost.

Augusta Regional Airport has partnered with Owens Aircraft Services, LLC. and The Brock Foundation, Inc. to provide local youth an opportunity to take a flight over the CSRA!

“We are appreciative of the generosity of Owens Aircraft Services and The Brock Foundation.” Said Herbert L. Judon Jr., Augusta Regional Airport Executive Director. “These flights will be a thrilling experience for many of our students especially those that may not have flown before.  More important, the flights represent a full circle culmination of lessons learned in the classroom environment.  Our hopes are that experiences like these will create excitement and open up a realm of future career possibilities.”

Lauren Smith from Augusta Regional Airport stopped at the ABD Boardroom for an editorial meeting to share new information. (Photo by Neil Gordon)

Now that many restrictions have eased, air travel is slowly but surely getting back to normal. The travel numbers at the airport are about 50-60% of what they were prior to the pandemic – much higher than the national average, according to Lauren Smith, who handles PR, marketing, and customer service for the Airport. “It’s picking up faster than we anticipated,” said Smith during an editorial meeting with ABD staff in our Boardroom.

She explains that they’ve noticed an increase in traffic at the airport, including more military travelers. Airlines have also begun to increase their seating capacities. For example, Smith says both American Airlines and Delta are back to flying at 100% capacity.

It is unclear how many travelers visited the airport during this year’s Masters week, but the number of planes that flew in was 3,392. That was more than double the number from the 2020 tournament, which was 1,631. In 2019, the number of planes was 5,792 – more than the last two years combined.

Smith says they’ve even been able to reinstate direct flights to and from Washington, D.C., as well as flights between Augusta and Dallas-Fort Worth. There has been talk of the morning round trip flights to Reagan National Airport moving to the afternoon.

Smith explains the airport still abides by all precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for safe travel, including more frequent cleaning and encouraging social distancing. Smith says she believes the numbers will continue to grow steadily. “We got back everything we lost,” she adds.

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