Originally created 11/05/02

Pilot warns of Continental's service



I am a pilot for a major airline, and I live in the Augusta area. The upcoming start-up service and money pledged to attract Continental Airlines to Augusta Regional Airport should be viewed with complete knowledge.

Before anyone books a flight from Augusta to Newark, N.J., I suggest that the on-time performance of Continental into and out of Newark be researched. I have flown into and out of that airport, as well as the other two airports serving that area (LaGuardia and Kennedy) for years, and delays occur daily even in clear weather.

You cannot imagine the delays at those airports in a snowstorm. Just a word of caution when booking connecting flights at Newark. The standard 40 minutes is really not enough to guarantee you (and your luggage) will make it.

The other issue is a little broader and affects all tax-paying citizens, as well as individuals and corporations who pledged money to attract Continental.

Are you aware of what happened in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.? I hope the people who spearheaded the pledge campaign here looked at what happened there and the state of North Carolina when they raised money, delayed taxes and landing fees, and built a new mid-field terminal in order to attract American Airlines to service those two cities.

American stayed for a while but when the passenger traffic declined, the airline decreased service and then pulled out. I hope Continental signed a pledge to stay if our passenger traffic declines (when people find out how unreliable and untimely air service is in and out of Newark).

Leslie Dittmer-Boyle, Lincolnton, Ga.