American Eagle to halt Augusta flights

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 3:36 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 2:42 AM
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Chapter 11 is putting the end to the chapter of American Eagle’s return to Augusta.

The Dallas-based airline told Augusta Regional Airport officials Tuesday that it intends to stop flying into Augusta at the end of January.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
The Dallas-based airline told Augusta Regional Airport officials Tuesday that it intends to stop flying into Augusta at the end of January.

The Dallas-based airline told Augusta Regional Airport officials Tuesday that it intends to stop flying into Augusta at the end of January.

AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle, filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 29.

As part of the reorganization, the regional carrier is disposing of more than a dozen turbo prop aircraft, meaning the puddle jump cities that were served by the small planes will need to be serviced by jets in the fleet.

“They are going to backfill those markets with regional jets, which is the mainstay of American Eagle’s fleet. That lead to some dominoes that fell in certain Eagle markets, including Augusta,” said Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Eagle.

The airline also plans to cancel flights between Dallas and Fayetteville, N.C.; Chicago to Tri-Cities, Tenn., and Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Los Angeles to Boise.

Eagle has been flying into Augusta twice a day since the summer of 2010. The flights will end Jan. 31.

“Anytime you lose an airline, it is disappointing, especially after their load factors were really strong on start-up. It is dissapointing when there is a good response from the community, but I understand where you’re going through bankruptcy and you’re trying to protect your international company that you have to give it some hard looks,” said Diane Johnston, marketing manager for Augusta Regional.

So far this year, there have been 45,153 total passengers on Eagle flights to and from Augusta. That comes out to a 76.4 percent average load factor, Johnston said.

“The loads at certain times were very, very good. Other times of the year, they were less so,” Smith said. The bookings for January looked “light,” he said.

But there were other factors in determining that Augusta service be shut down, Smith said, citing the financial performance of the market was below the systemwide average.

“It just didn’t build, quite frankly, the way that we hoped it would,” Smith said.

According to a memo to Eagle employees and executives, the flight changes were submitted Tuesday and should be active in the worldwide booking system by the weekend.

Travelers with tickets after Jan. 31 will either get a refund or be accomodated on another airline, Smith said.

Johnston said she hopes Eagle will look at Augusta again when it emerges from bankruptcy.

Smith said he cannot guarantee that the flights will resume after the bankruptcy prcoess. “You never say never either way. This is a long process and we’re less than a month into it.”

The six staffers that were running the ticket counter and gate in Augusta were employees of the airport. Johnston said airport officials have not have a chance to determine what their fate will be at the end of January.

Smith said the spinoff of Eagle as its own company has been put on hold too because of the bankruptcy.

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Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/20/11 - 05:04 pm
0
0
wow, sorry to hear this news.

wow, sorry to hear this news. i was hoping the new terminal would attract more airlines. We have to have more competition to keep air fares reasonable. I suspect now that we will see fares jump. Oh well guess its back to using the Columbia airport

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 12/20/11 - 05:29 pm
0
0
The new terminal did more

The new terminal did more than enough for future growth.. American Airlines came to Augusta, Delta brought back maineline flights, $14 million runway renovation, multi million parking expansion, new FBO building, restaurant/bar, coffee shop, and gift shop.. The bankruptcy is the problem and not the Augusta Regional... The airport set a passenger record in 2010, and the airport will set another record this year.. Augusta Reginal is one of the fastest growing airports in the county and non stop flights to both DC and New York are on the way..

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/20/11 - 06:21 pm
0
0
sorry countyman but we have

sorry countyman but we have gone thru this before. Continental didn't stay long either. The terminal had nothing to do with the decision to move towards larger jets.. that's a trend industry-wide.. airlines are phasing out the 50 seater commuter jets and turbo props. And how can you justify the statement that Augusta regional is one of the fastest growing airports in the country when we are losing an airline that had direct flights to a city OTHER than Atlanta or Charlotte? American is not going out of business just restructuring.. why would they want to leave a market in growth mode? And can you gives us a source that confirms that direct flights to NYC and DC are on the way? What airline will provide those? Delta? USair? that doesn't make a whole lotta sense for those two airlines whose regional hubs are in Atlanta and Charlotte. Btw.. we did have direct flights to NYC and Houston when Continental was here but they left after a year. I love the new terminal and all.. but the bottom line is none of that matters if we can't attract more airlines and more flights to keep fares competitive and we seem to be going backwards here. Is there any serious effort to lure a discount carrier?

Riverman1
94247
Points
Riverman1 12/20/11 - 06:37 pm
0
0
Too bad for Augusta,

Too bad for Augusta, Fayetteville and Tri Cities.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 12/20/11 - 07:20 pm
0
0
Too many govt rules,

Too many govt rules, regulations, taxes and nonsense to deal with to stay in business anymore. Not to mention the unions that are mostly responsible for their financial woes.

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 12/20/11 - 07:53 pm
0
0
How is Augusta Regional going

How is Augusta Regional going backwards?? Delta adding mainline flights to the small and medium size airports across the US isn't a trend.. Augusta Regional is growing much faster than the airport in Columbia(24% vs -7%) which you mentioned earlier.. A $14 million runway renovation is completed, multi million parking expansion is underway, $5 million FBO building is under construction, new road(General Perry Smith Pkwy), coffee shop, gift shop, and restaurant/bar..

The airport has a 80% growth rate since the year 2006.. The airport is one of the fastest growing in the country(24% in 2010)..

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/20/11 - 07:53 pm
0
0
I love the new airport

I love the new airport terminal.. but we have to be honest here Augusta will always have a problem attracting more airlines and flights. WE suffer from the same dilemma that other similar sized cities face.. we are simply too close to other major hub airports.. Atlanta airport is just a little more than 2 hours drive away. Charlotte is about 2.5 hours drive. And you can drive to Columbia airport in under and hour. Those are all larger markets than Augusta. I guess if we can just keep service at all at the levels we have we can consider ourselves lucky

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 12/20/11 - 08:01 pm
0
0
http://www.faa.gov/airports/p

http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/p...

Here's the link discussing the growth rates at the numerous airports across the US..

Augusta Regional will attract new airlines and flights over the next few years.. Not too many airport grew faster than 24% in the year 2010.. The Augusta Regional will set another passenger record this year..

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 12/20/11 - 08:05 pm
0
0
Who to believe, countyman or

Who to believe, countyman or my own lying eyes? I've quit flying out of Augusta for the simple reason it's served by "MAC Air." Maybe Airplane Comes, that is; of the five times I flew, only twice did the flight leave on time, and on the return flights I had to wait, once over three hours, then it was canceled and a bus was provided --after another two hours. Nice facility; good place to put an airport. Columbia is much cheaper, ten times more reliable, and parking is reasonable.

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 12/20/11 - 08:17 pm
0
0
I don't know why people keep

I don't know why people keep bringing up my name in order to fit their agendas.. How is your personal experience related too my comments??

Why don't you want to believe the FAA? Click on the link and you can clearly see the 24% growth rate in Augusta compared to the -7% in Columbia...

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 12/20/11 - 08:49 pm
0
0
Where a certain airport ranks
Unpublished

Where a certain airport ranks among places we don't live isn't a concern of mine. Having a airport that has on time flights at a reasonable price is. Augusta doesn't have reasonable prices and they do cancel or delay a lot of flights...maybe they were busier because more people were leaving? I'm just saying :)

augusta citizen
10068
Points
augusta citizen 12/20/11 - 10:00 pm
0
0
We've found it's cheaper to

We've found it's cheaper to fly out of Columbia, almost always. It's only 45 minutes away.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 12/21/11 - 12:35 am
0
0
Four of us flew out of

Four of us flew out of Augusta, connected in Atlanta, and on to Chicago back in October for a very small difference than driving to Atlanta and flying direct. The convenience of flying home, great. And not one problem with the schedule. Beautiful airport too. Way too much emphasis is spent on spending on the greatest frugal deal. The savings is generally small in the big scheme of things. Go have fun or do your business and then fly home. At the end of the year, you would not be able to find one thin dime of the money you think you saved. When you use your time and compromise because of a better deal, then you have simply succumbed to the art of salesmanship. It does not make you a smart shopper.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 12/21/11 - 08:27 am
0
0
If you liked our
Unpublished

If you liked our multi-million dollar airport and the revenue it provides, you are just going to love the TEE center for the same reasons.

proudgunowner
148
Points
proudgunowner 12/21/11 - 09:01 am
0
0
I'm sorry to be losing this
Unpublished

I'm sorry to be losing this great asset. I used their early morning flight to Dallas several times in the past year and it was fantastic. However, the gate personnel sure deserve to lose their jobs. I have NEVER run across airport workers as rude as the ones in Augusta. One gate agent closed the door on me, causing me to miss a flight when I was less than 20 feet from the door, running to catch the flight. I was held up in security and she looked right at me and pushed the door closed when I was about ten steps away. Amazing that the plane sat on the ground at the gate for another 25 minutes AFTER closing the door. All she said was "you should have gotten here earlier" and walked away. I was in security behind about 20 Ft Gordon soldiers who had to go through their packs and took a large amount of time. Merry Christmas Augusta!

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 12/21/11 - 10:27 am
0
0
dstewartsr, normally flight

dstewartsr, normally flight delays are carrier related not airport related. We are flying out of Augusta much more often and we love it. We have done both the Atlanta and the Columbia thing and I am happy that Augusta has a good airport. I hate to drive to an airport, you get back tired have an hour of two drive home, it just isn't worth it to me, and hope the airport here continues to thrive, but people who live and work here will be the deciding factor there, if they don't use it, then it will not continue to expand.

itsanotherday
0
Points
itsanotherday 12/21/11 - 10:40 am
0
0
And you had better do your
Unpublished

And you had better do your homework on fares. Just yesterday I was looking for fares to Orlando and it is cheaper from Augusta than it is from Atlanta. Since Delta took over the ASA in Augusta, I've had no issues other than weather related, Atlanta backed up, etc. I've had as many return flights through Atlanta delayed from my destination city as I have delays from Augusta.

usafveteran
32
Points
usafveteran 12/21/11 - 02:25 pm
0
0
I knew these Augusta to

I knew these Augusta to Dallas flights were too good to be true. I used them monthly and most seats were filled. The problem is that there was no military contract with American Airlines from Augusta. It is sad news for many people in the Augusta area who were grateful to have a speedy Texas connection. It's a not so happy holidays!

usafveteran
32
Points
usafveteran 12/21/11 - 05:46 pm
0
0
When are we going to get a

When are we going to get a state flag flying at the airport??? We're in GEORGIA you know.

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