Business travelers will be losing Delta Air L ines' first morning flight out of Augusta for only one month, instead of 2½ , as previously announced.
Todd Bailey, a representative for Delta subsidiary Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which serves Augusta Regional Airport, said Friday that the 6:40 a.m. flight from the Garden City will be cut only between Sept. 1 and Oct. 2, and not all the way through Nov. 16.
The partial reinstatement comes one month after officials announced that Augusta would lose that flight and the last flight back home - arriving at 11:30 p.m. - as part of temporary seasonal reductions across the nation.
"When the decision was made, Augusta leaders asked Delta to take another look and review the flight choices," Mr. Bailey said. "Delta did and reconsidered."
That early flight has consistently posted high boarding numbers and is considered crucial for business travelers seeking to get to New York and Washington before the afternoon, which is why airport Director Buster Boshears and other members of the aviation commission pushed ASA to leave it alone.
Mr. Bailey said the vitality for businesspeople and leisure travelers was certainly considered in his airline's decision.
In response to the announcement, Mr. Boshears said he was appreciative that the carrier had taken his concerns and the concerns of corporate travelers who called the airline seriously.
"It shows that Delta understands how important that flight is and that they were flexible enough to make the change," he said.
"By the time Augusta officials talked to us and we made the decision, the plan for September was already complete, and to try to unwind that would have been impossible," Mr. Bailey said. "That's the reason for that small gap in service."
Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 16, ASA still will scrap the final flight from Atlanta to Augusta, which departs at 10:30 nightly.
Also, between Sept. 1 and Nov. 16, the last outbound flight to Atlanta leaving Augusta at 8:55 p.m. will be discontinued, Mr. Bailey said.
It is expected that after Nov. 16 service will resume for both.
Mr. Boshears said he will continue to try to persuade Augusta's other carrier, US Airways Express, to increase its number of flights in the morning and evening hours to create more options for fliers. He also plans to keep at attempts to lure a low-cost airline.
Reach Dena Levitz at (706) 823-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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