Number of passengers increases

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The number of passengers using Augusta Regional Airport is up 12 percent so far this year compared with last year. Lower fares and improved airline reliability are factors, said the airport's director of marketing, Diane Johnston.

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Passengers wait for a Delta Connection flight to Atlanta at Augusta Regional Airport. The airport credits improved reliability and lower fares for the boost.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Passengers wait for a Delta Connection flight to Atlanta at Augusta Regional Airport. The airport credits improved reliability and lower fares for the boost.

"This has been the trend that's been going on for the last probably 21/2 years," she said. "The fares in our market have gone down significantly in the last couple of years. The reliability has really improved tremendously here. I think it's made a huge difference, and our passengers are starting to use the airport again."

The increase in activity could attract another airline to the market, she said.

Ms. Johnston said Augusta Regional has been trying to secure nonstop flights to New York and Washington, D.C. It currently has flights only to Charlotte and Atlanta.

Chances improve if the airport can prove it has the traffic to support these flights, she said.

"We do keep trying because we feel we would be successful in both New York and Washington, D.C.," Ms. Johnston said.

Augusta Regional is comparable in size to airports in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Panama City, Fla., Ms. Johnston said.

Gainesville Regional Airport just added two Delta flights a day, said airport spokeswoman Michelle Danisovszky. Both Delta and U.S. Airways are up in traffic, too, she said.

"Gainesville is not a leisure market; we're a business market," she said. "Gainesville has been somewhat recession resistant, which would be accurate with our enplanement data."

She also noted the presence of the University of Florida and its 50,000 students in Gainesville.

According to Augusta statistics as of the end of May, the number of passengers is up 23 percent for Delta-connection Atlantic Southeast Airlines, and flights for U.S. Airways Express are down 2 percent from last year.

"I think that what we're seeing there is (U.S. Airways) is starting to stabilize or maybe even drop a bit because Delta has really focused on improving their performance in our market," Ms. Johnston said. "A lot of passengers that were loyal to Delta and switched away for a while are perhaps giving Delta another try."

Delta passengers might also be taking advantage of low fares, she said.

"We're happy to see both our airlines doing well because that's what it takes. When they're successful, then other airlines start looking at your market," Ms. Johnston said.

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.

AUGUSTA REGIONAL AIRPORT TRAFFIC

Year-to-date May 2009

Total enplanements 81,499

Total deplanements 78,287

Total passengers 159,786

YEAR-TO-DATE MAY 2008:

Total enplanements 72,702

Total deplanements 70,085

Total passengers 142,787

Source: Augusta Regional Airport


THE IMPACT

The increase could help Augusta Regional Airport's efforts to attract another airline to provide nonstop flights to New York and Washington, D.C.

Comments (26) Add comment
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wildman
1142
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wildman 06/23/09 - 04:21 am
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No way, Americas Sorriest

No way, Americas Sorriest Airline (ASA) has continued to meet the low standards that they set for themselves. I've had flights canceled/delayed, luggage issues to include it being destroyed.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 06/23/09 - 05:10 am
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They should send Fort Gordon

They should send Fort Gordon a big thank you for this "increase" as you can rest assured it is our GI's coming in and out of Fort Gordon each and every day on ASA and some on US Air that have provided us with these increases. As far as relibality and cancelled flights from ASA, I would like to see the chronicle provide the actual statistics. I hope all of this is real because it would be nice to have Continental Airlines again or some other airline for NYC but I believe this is just simple propoganda.

LadyCisback
4
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LadyCisback 06/23/09 - 06:34 am
0
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Lower fares!!.. yeah

Lower fares!!.. yeah right!!.. you are right.. it's the soldiers that come and go and use this sorry airport often and the business people that can afford their outrageous rates..

1941
4
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1941 06/23/09 - 07:53 am
0
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Why would anyone pay extra,

Why would anyone pay extra, to go to philadelphia, but you have to fly a hundred and fifty miles to atlanta, to get to philly. it is stupid!! No straight thru flights to the north!!!

viewer 1
0
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viewer 1 06/23/09 - 08:01 am
0
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All of the above four, are

All of the above four, are WRONG! Check the prices out of Augusta, and you will see the prices have came down. Yea, walk up fares (buisness travlers), we are not talking about. But, planning your trip, the fares are a lot lower. My hat is off to Ms. Johnston and the airport, you guys are doing a great job. You are always going to have complainers, like the ones above. Check the prices and do so research, before you start to complain!

disssman
6
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disssman 06/23/09 - 08:09 am
0
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Wow over 5000 people left and

Wow over 5000 people left and didn't return. Was this a loss in population or did they figure out it was cheaper to catch the shuttle rather than fly back to Augusta. I know Augusta is the SECOND largest metropolitan area in Georgia and our new facility cost millions to build, but couldn't they have put a snack bar in it at least? For gods sake they little nook with some hugely overpriced rolls and coffee is a little embarassing. In fact have they ever done a market survey of the facility to see what the traveling public thinks of their operation. I doubt it.

Riverman1
84926
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Riverman1 06/23/09 - 09:25 am
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Viewer1 is absolutely right.

Viewer1 is absolutely right. Things have changed out there. Prices are now extremely cheap. Compare the rates from here or Atlanta to wherever you are going and you will be surprised. The new terminal and staff are great too. As an example of the friendly folks out there, my car battery went dead in the parking lot and an airport police officer jumped my car for me with a smile.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 06/23/09 - 09:39 am
0
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If they really want to see
Unpublished

If they really want to see ridership increase... get Airtran to fly in... would be nice to have those $49 fares they advertise to other regional destinations.

storiesihaveread
358
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storiesihaveread 06/23/09 - 10:15 am
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Viewer 1 you so right about

Viewer 1 you so right about the fares. They are lower. Planning a family trip to D.C. and booking 3 months out getting round trip from Augusta to DC it is 240.00 per ticket flying from Atlanta same dates it is 400.00 per ticket. The fare from Augusta does include a stop over in Atlanta. Atlanta to DC no stop over is more. It is all about planning several months out and you will safe money in the long run. Just need to make sure you are flying back during the day and you are not catching the dreaded last flight into Augusta where it is cancelled

storiesihaveread
358
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storiesihaveread 06/23/09 - 10:22 am
0
0
Also on that note when I was

Also on that note when I was planning this trip was also looking at Augusta to San Fran it was cheaper than flying to DC by $10.00 was around 228.00 per ticket. Atlanta to San Fran no lay over was 475.00 per ticket same dates.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 06/23/09 - 10:49 am
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COMMENTS: - On Sunday, May

COMMENTS:
- On Sunday, May 31, I parked in the Long Term parking lot at approximately 7:30 a.m. and walked to the designated shuttle shelter and pushed the call button. A shuttle did enter the lot, but it waited beside a car for the driver and his baggage and then took that individual directly to the terminal without ever coming to the shuttle shelter. I had to walk to the Terminal and when I stopped the shuttle to complain to the driver and ask his name, he said he was XXXXX and that I could complain to the Ground Transportation Office when they opened on Monday morning.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 06/23/09 - 10:49 am
0
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COMMENTS (continued) - On

COMMENTS (continued) - On Wednesday, June 03, at approximately 4:50 p.m. my wife and I arrived on Delta Flight 5107. We decided to sit and talk while waiting for the bags to arrive on the carousel. When I went to get the bags everyone else seemed to have taken theirs and left, but my bags were not there. When I asked about them I was told that after they go around once or twice they are removed because the carousel is close to the exit doors and someone could come in and take them.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 06/23/09 - 10:49 am
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COMMENTS (continued) - Deputy

COMMENTS (continued) - Deputy YYYYY, in a Richmond County Marshal uniform, was leaning against the Lost Luggage cubicle talking to someone who later identified herself as a delivery company representative. I had to wait in line in the Lost Luggage cubicle to recover my bags.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 06/23/09 - 10:49 am
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COMMENTS (continued) - At

COMMENTS (continued) - At approximately 5:15 p.m. my wife and I waited at the Terminal Exit with our bags for the shuttle to take us to the Long Term parking lot. We could not see the shuttle and it did not come, so after almost 10 minutes we decided to walk to our car. We noticed the shuttle stationary close to the parking toll booth and it did not move until we were almost to our car. I stopped the shuttle and asked the driver her name and she said it was ZZZZZ.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 06/23/09 - 11:02 am
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SUGGESTIONS: - Repair the

SUGGESTIONS: - Repair the shuttle shelter, make sure the call button works, prescribe a route that includes the shuttle shelter, and ensure the shuttle is available to travelers.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 06/23/09 - 11:04 am
0
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SUGGESTIONS (continued) - If

SUGGESTIONS (continued) - If security is a problem, the Deputy should be stationed at the exit door and the receipt tags checked as people leave with bags.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 06/23/09 - 11:11 am
0
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The preceding COMMENTS (with

The preceding COMMENTS (with names) and SUGGESTIONS were sent to Augusta Regional Airport management over 2 weeks ago, but NO RESPONSE has been received.

LadyCisback
4
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LadyCisback 06/23/09 - 11:32 am
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That's because they don't

That's because they don't care..

The Knave
24
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The Knave 06/23/09 - 12:01 pm
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Note that the increased

Note that the increased traffic has nothing to do with the tens of millions of dollars that were spent on a completely unnecessary Taj Mahal terminal. Oh, but it will be a lovely place for the Master's patrons to come to once a year.

Riverman1
84926
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Riverman1 06/23/09 - 12:18 pm
0
0
Knave, I don't get the logic

Knave, I don't get the logic of that. Locals who fly use the beautiful terminal, too, ya know. No Longer Amazed, incidents can happen at any airport. It sounds like you are doing the right thing with your complaints. Follow up on it if you don't hear something soon.

Dark Lord
2
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Dark Lord 06/23/09 - 03:01 pm
0
0
The food stand with the extra

The food stand with the extra high prices are allowed to be the only food source in the airport by the airport administration. Others have asked to place a vending stand in the airport but it never seems to work out for them. Where is the USO office for all the soldiers that are coming and going at the airport. The airport does nothing for the soldiers or thier families. The military needs a office at the airport because we are tired of not having a place to go or a point of contact when we arrive heading to Fort Gordon.

Riverman1
84926
Points
Riverman1 06/23/09 - 04:46 pm
0
0
Ahhh, leave it to me to take

Ahhh, leave it to me to take up for the airport. ALL airports have exorbitant prices. Ours are actually a little cheaper, I think. Buy something at Hartsfield. USO and military stations are up to those organizations. Don't blame that on the airport. Dark, during my 20 years in the Army, I would arrive somewhere and find where I had to report on my own. Maybe that's why I did so well in the military. You get in a cab and tell the driver what your unit is at the fort. Presto, you get there. You file reimbursement for the cab ride at finance when you process in. How hard is it?

The Knave
24
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The Knave 06/23/09 - 06:22 pm
0
0
Dear Riverman1: Now,

Dear Riverman1: Now, concentrate. Think about it really, really hard, and maybe you'll get it. Then again, maybe you won't.

Dark Lord
2
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Dark Lord 06/23/09 - 07:27 pm
0
0
Riverman the military has

Riverman the military has probably changed since you did your 20 years. Thank You for your service by the way. Pretty much all post are closed post now so not just any cab can drive on the base. As a senior NCO I can get to and from my assignments but I watch the younger less mature soldiers coming out of BCT and AIT have trouble as they are used to being guided or lead from point A to point B. The USO is just a great jesture on the part of both organizations when it comes to community relations. I still think the USO has something to offer in the sense of information and accountability.

Laguria
0
Points
Laguria 06/23/09 - 08:23 pm
0
0
I find the Augusta airport to

I find the Augusta airport to have extremely low price tickets. I just purchased a RT ticket to Milan for $700 on Delta. Fly from AGS to ATL with a 1 1/2 hour delay in ATL, Then fly out of ATL non-stop to Milan. Total length of time from AGS to Milan =11 hours. Out of Atlanta on the same plane to Milan was over $800. Now here is the kicker: A friend from Houston is flying from Houston to ATL and we are getting on the same plane to Milan. From Houston to Milan was only $500 RT. Go Figure. Airport ticket pricing makes no sense. When you consider the miles I am flying, that is one cheap ticket per mile. Last year I payed $1200 for same flight. Lag

PS, I can't drive my car to Italy for that. I think that's about 10 cents a mile.

Riverman1
84926
Points
Riverman1 06/23/09 - 10:13 pm
0
0
Knave, I'm not trying to give

Knave, I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but realize that those of us who use the airport now and then appreciate it. Dark Lord, thank you for your service too. I haven't been out that long and understand how some airports with large numbers of troops coming and going have transportation there. The airport taxis are allowed to enter Ft. Gordon, by the way, But the bigger point is that it is up to Ft. Gordon to provide someone at the airport. Why not bring it up? The comments about tickets being cheaper out of Augusta than Atlanta are absolutely true. I don't understand it, but it is. Check it out, folks, and save yourself a drive.

Laguria
0
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Laguria 06/23/09 - 10:51 pm
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I did fly to San Francisco 2

I did fly to San Francisco 2 months ago on Delta for $250 RT. Two years ago I thought I would try US Air out of AGS to Milan. The US Air itenerrary had us flying from AGS to Charlotte and then from Charlotte to Milan. From Charlotte to Milan we landed in Phidelphia and changed planes to Milan. A 3 hour delay. Since I did not see the Philly plane change on the iten, I was furious and approched the Philly ticket agent there. I showed her my itenerrary and she said, because the planes had the same flight number, they did not need to list it as a stop-over. Same thing happened on the way back. Never again. Lag

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