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Augusta Regional Airport departing flights booking near capacity

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 5:01 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 1:25 AM
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One less airline operating out of Augusta Regional Airport has meant more competition for seats on the remaining flights.

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Passengers wait to board a flight to Atlanta at Augusta Regional Airport. Airlines are booking near capacity after the departure of American Airlines in January.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Passengers wait to board a flight to Atlanta at Augusta Regional Airport. Airlines are booking near capacity after the departure of American Airlines in January.

Delta and Atlantic South­east airlines, the operator of Delta’s regional connections, filled 90 percent of seats in June and July. US Airways flights had 86.3 percent of seats occupied in June, with more empty seats in July after the start of a nonstop flight to Washington, D.C., on July 11.

Full and nearly full planes became more common when American Airlines affiliate American Eagle discontinued its flight from Augusta to Dallas on Jan. 30, Augusta Regional Marketing Director Diane Johnston said.

“With American Airlines pulling out, we lost 100 seats per day in the market,” she said.

Through July, the total number of seats available from Augusta Regional was down 4.3 percent over a year ago.

Passenger traffic at the airport, however, has not changed. Travelers on Ameri­can flights switched to Delta or US Airways flights, occupying seats that were previously empty.

The number of seats fluctuates each month but measures between 250,000 and 300,000, except for a low in February and a spike in April. Seat counts were lower for February to June compared with 2011. Seat counts in July were nearly the same as a year ago because of the addition of the US Airways flight to Washington.

“The majority of flights are chock full, except the end-of-day flights when there are some empty seats,” Johnston said.

She said Augusta’s numbers follow a national trend in the airline industry. Many airlines have begun retiring 50-seat regional aircraft, and the airports are left with fewer seats while waiting on larger aircraft.

“Nationwide, the airlines are really tightening up on their capacity,” Johnston said. “It’s not just us that’s going through this.”

Delta swapped one of Augusta’s 50-seat regional jets for a 70-passenger aircraft in August and started flying a 129-seat aircraft in mid-2011, Johnston said. The airport, however, needs more flights or larger aircraft to continue growing.

In 2011, more than 270,000 passengers flew on departing Augusta flights, an increase of nearly 100 percent over 2006. Johnston said the airport predicts passenger numbers will remain about the same this year.

CABINS GET MORE CROWDED

A look at the percentage of seats occupied on outbound flights at Augusta Regional Airport:

AIRLINEJUNE 2011JUNE 2012JULY 2011JULY 2012
Atlantic Southeast  89.393.192.691.1
US Airways82.986.381.685.5
Delta85.694.086.991.4
Comments (5) Add comment
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seenitB4
81251
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seenitB4 09/05/12 - 05:35 am
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hehheh

Getting out of Augusta heh....did you see azziz anywhere??

soapy_725
43553
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soapy_725 09/05/12 - 10:02 am
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1
When you are on the military or
Unpublished

corporate dime, buying a ticket is simple. When you are personally paying the price, Augusta is not a bargain. Government and military requirements fill a lot of seat. Been there, done that Bush Field thingy.

soapy_725
43553
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soapy_725 09/05/12 - 10:13 am
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Near seat capacity
Unpublished

Could mean something entirely different. It could mean the seats are too small or the behinds are to large.

itsanotherday1
40157
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itsanotherday1 09/05/12 - 01:21 pm
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Bobby makes a good point.

Bobby makes a good point. I've dealt with cancelled flights more than once, and they used to be very bad about canceling the last flight into Augusta if it was half full.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 09/05/12 - 01:59 pm
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Flights OUT of Augusta are

Flights OUT of Augusta are near capacity.

I wonder if flights INTO Augusta are nearly empty.

bdouglas
4475
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bdouglas 09/06/12 - 08:55 am
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If I could get one that just

If I could get one that just leaves on time out of here I'd be happy! I don't fly often at all, but when I do I make a point to fly out of AGS when I can...and more often than not I get one of those texts or emails from the airline (usually US Airways...) saying my flight will be leaving later than scheduled due to "crew availability". That's typically when I'm on the first flight out in the morning, which I find fishy. Did the crew party too hard the night before or what? Last time I ended up having to drive to Charlotte pedal to the metal because "crew availability" was going to put me in Charlotte at 10:50AM instead of 9AM to catch my flight that was leaving at 10:40AM. That math just doesn't work!

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