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Traffic shifts airports during Masters Week because of new reservation system

Monday, April 22, 2013 6:38 PM
Last updated 9:50 PM
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Because of a new Masters Week reservation system for private aircraft, traffic dropped at Augusta Regional Airport and Daniel Field saw a steep increase.

At Daniel Field, the combined number of arrivals and departures increased from 862 to 1,219, a 30 percent jump from 2012. The number of arrivals and departures at Augusta Regional dropped by 208, to a total of 2,047.

The traffic shifts were the result of a new booking system meant to send private aircraft to four area airports and alleviate parking shortages at Augusta Regional.

For the first time, Augusta Re­gion­al, Daniel Field, Thom­son-McDuffie Regional and Aiken Municipal airports required visitors to reserve parking spots.

“It was a great success,” Augusta Regional spokeswoman Lauren Smith said. “We think it was excellent and we think we’re going to do it again next year.”

In recent years, the Federal Aviation Ad­min­is­tra­tion ordered ground stops – prohibitions from landing or taking off – when Augusta Regional filled space on its parking ramp, causing planes to divert elsewhere.

“We didn’t have a ground stop, and that was the whole purpose of this,” said Becky Shealy, the marketing director for Augusta Aviation Inc., which operates Daniel Field, at Monday’s general aviation commission meeting.

“We were very happy and hope to see a repeat of 2013 in future years,” Shealy said.
The airports measure Masters Week activity beginning the Sunday before the Masters Tournament through the Monday after.

“The other airports were making up for what we lost,” Smith said. “They were still coming in (to Augusta), just not here.”

Shealy said 80 percent of Daniel Field’s Masters traffic was corporate business.

A joint meeting for representatives from the four airports is scheduled for April 29 to review the first year of the new reservation system.

Augusta Regional2,2552,047
Daniel Field8621,219
Aiken MunicipalN/A745
Thomson-McDuffie RegionalN/A478

2013 TOTAL: 4,489

2012 TOTAL: 4,323

Sources: Becky Shealy, Augusta Aviation Inc.; and Lauren Smith, Augusta Regional Airport

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WrrEagle97 04/23/13 - 07:05 pm
Masters Airport Parking

Much of the reason for aircraft going to different airports this year was because of the cost of parking at Augusta Regional. Normally, during non-Masters weeks, a large aircraft such as a Gulfstream is charged a nominal fee of say $150 per day to park, but many times this is waived with a fuel purchase. During past Masters weeks, parking was upped to $300 per day. This year, in their infinite wisdom, the powers that be decided to a) not allow parking on the alpha taxiway (in the name of safety), and b) charge over $1000 per day to park large aircraft. Many operators decided they were not going to be gouged and decided to go to the other airports. If they did end up at Augusta Regional and did not need fuel, they refused to buy a drop. I don't blame them one bit.

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