In the month of June, more passengers than previous months used Middle Georgia Regional Airport to fly to Baltimore Washington International Airport on Contour Airlines or to Biloxi on the weekend charter flight with Sun Country Air. More than 3,000 passengers came through the airport, which was an average of 89 percent of load capacity and a 7 percent increase over May.
“With service from Macon, passengers can be landing at their destination in less time than it would take to drive to other airports,” said Airport Manager Erick D’Leon. “What we have here is the right recipe for success: a reliable air carrier, the right destination, and a convenient airport.”
With June’s numbers included, 13,700 people have come through the airport since January. This time last year, only 246 came through in June and only 1,310 had used passenger service from January through June 2017.
“The level of interest has surpassed even our ambitious goals,” said Matt Chaifetz, CEO of Contour Airlines. “We’re constantly looking at our booking patterns to evaluate the demand and how we can best adjust our capacity to match. Certainly the success of the BWI service warrants examination of additional destinations.”
The number of passengers boarding at the airport is important to the future of the airport because it can determine the amount of federal funds the airport receives. Middle Georgia Regional is part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program and is able to access $150,000 per year for improvements to infrastructure like runways, taxiways, and airfield lights. If the airport is able to reach 10,000 enplanements in a year, it will be able to access one million dollars of federal funding.
“With June posting just under 90% load factors – meaning there are almost full flights on every flight flown – we’re projecting to far exceed the 10,000 mark, which is very exciting for the future of our airport,” says D’Leon.
In terms of economic impact, several businesses at the airport that are experiencing increased foot traffic. Car rentals have increased, business at the café has gone up, and more fuel is being sold.
According to a study done in YEAR, there is a market and demand for passenger service in Middle Georgia. There are more than one million passengers in the airport’s catchment area using Atlanta’s airport, with the top five destinations being: New York/Newark, Washington/Baltimore, Chicago, South Florida, and Las Vegas. To view the full study, click here.
“The only question we have now is what other destination can we throw in the mix that will offer the same success story; and that’s what we’re working on today,” adds D’Leon. “So from our perspective, this is just the beginning.”