Augusta Regional Airport revenue down slightly for Masters

Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:53 PM
Last updated Friday, May 31, 2013 5:10 AM
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Despite steep fee increases for private aircraft, Au­gusta Regional Airport’s revenue decreased slightly during Masters Week from the year before.

Revenue for general aviation operations was $1.2 million, down 2.7 percent.

The change was caused by a new reservation system that limited the number of planes that could park at Augusta Regional and forced them to use three other regional airports, Augusta Regional officials said.

From April 7 to April 15, aircraft operations decreased 9 percent from 2012 to 2,047 takeoffs and landings.

Including Daniel Field, Thomson-McDuffie Re­gional and Aiken Munici­pal airports, operations increased 14 percent overall, for a total of 5,079.

Revenue from prepaid parking, landing and ramp fees was $509,731 through May 23, with some additional revenue not yet collected. Jet fuel sales were $682,794.

Daily ramp fees at Augus­ta Regional ranged from $60 for a small aircraft up to 4,000 pounds to $1,200 for the largest jet, up to 100,000 pounds. Operators had the option of reserving a spot for the entire week for between $600 and $12,000, or paying between $30 and $600 to depart within one hour of landing.

The higher ramp fees were comparable with those for airports serving other major sporting events, including the Day­tona 500 and Kentucky Derby, where daily fees range from $1,085 to $1,575 for the largest aircraft, said Ken Hinkle, the deputy director of airport services at Augusta Regional.

Hinkle said the fees helped cover airport expenses for Masters Week. Increa­ses were needed to offset the lower number of aircraft.

For the past several years, heavy traffic into Au­gus­ta Regional caused the the Fed­eral Aviation Adminis­tra­tion to issue ground stops, or prohibitions on landing or taking off. Aircraft en route were diverted to nearby general aviation airports.

“We had no ground delays nationwide for the first time anybody can remember,” said Augusta Regional Executive Director Gary LeTellier. He said the revenue decrease was worth the added safety and convenience of less traffic.

The higher fees upset some pilots of small planes, but large corporations were not concerned by them, airport officials said. The airport did not receive any written complaints about the new reservation system and fees.

“We had a lot of people that really want to come to this airport,” Hinkle said.

The National Business Avia­tion Administration, which helped formulate the new reservation system for Mas­ters Week, said it received no complaints about changes.

“If fees went up, I’m sure that also wasn’t popular among the flying public,” said Dean Snell, the group’s assistant manager for air traffic services. “Typically, if it was a large outcry, we would hear it.”

Other regional airports reported more operations and revenue for the week because Augusta Regional limited the
number of planes it accepted.

“We probably got to handle this year closer to our capacity, whereas other years we weren’t anywhere close to our capacity,” said Mike Laver, the manager of Aiken Aviation, which operates Aiken Municipal Airport.

Operations at Daniel Field increased from 862 in 2012 to 1,219 this year.

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nocnoc 05/31/13 - 05:44 am
Sounds like the new ARC Garbage collection Process.

Reduce the amount of service and jack up the fee and wonder where everybody went.

Could it be our "leaders" have imposed limits and a price point , that the plane owners have decided wasn't worth it or the hassle ?

soapy_725 05/31/13 - 08:57 am
Tax not Fee.

Remember, fee is a politico word for tax. Fees are much less expensive that taxes of the same monetary value. Government money grows on the printing press. "Don't worry man, be happy." You Obamessiah has everything under control.

Doug Lively
Doug Lively 05/31/13 - 09:36 am
Positive Changes

The new plan executed this year is one designed to achieve several goals:
1) Provide a more controlled environment for Aircraft during Masters week. In past years, a first come, first served approach created overcrowding and had resulted in damage to aircraft due to close parking. When the Augusta airport reached capacity, ground stops issued by Air Traffic Control would cause arriving craft to divert, even if they had ground arrangements for pick-up at Bush Field.
2) Allow arriving guests to ensure they had a reserved spot for their aircraft and firm plans for pick-up for ground transportation.
3) Spread the influx of guests to surrounding airfields
4) Provide a better experience for those visiting the CSRA

All indicators are these objectives were achieved. With very few exceptions, feedback was positive. We have, in fact, received inquiries from other municipalities with major sporting events who are interested in this system of controlling and managing a huge volume of passengers.

Hats off to the creativity of the ARA staff for coming up with this plan. They will be tweaking for more efficiency next year.

Doug Lively
Doug Lively 05/31/13 - 09:37 am
Thank You, Ms. Mirshak

for a well written article.

TCB22 05/31/13 - 09:55 am
Silly comparison to garbage service

Comments comparing this to the garbage service are just silly. Read what the article said:

“We had no ground delays nationwide for the first time anybody can remember,” said Augusta Regional Executive Director Gary LeTellier. He said the revenue decrease was worth the added safety and convenience of less traffic.

Kudos to Augusta Regional Airport officials for assuring safety first. Their plan worked very well and they should have been at least given a positive comment for that. It really was "worth the added safety" and I for one greatly appreciate that. Keep up the great job, Augusta Regional!

Riverman1 05/31/13 - 02:37 pm
Let Me Throw Out Some of Those Kudos Too

It appears to have been a necessary measure that went well. Thanks to the airport folks.

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