UPDATE: News 12 at 6 o' clock/ January 16, 2014
Augusta Regional Airport. (November 17, 2010 / WRDW-TV)
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A popular flight out of Augusta will be grounded. US Airways announcing they will no longer offer the direct flight from Augusta Regional to Washington, D.C.
The flight has been offered since July 2012, but now that US Airways and American Airlines have merged, they aren't allowed to have as many flights.
That decision isn't sitting well here in Augusta though.
"We're extremely disappointed that we're losing that service. The community really used the service and were happy with it," said Lauren Smith, Communication Manager at Augusta Regional Airport.
But cuts had to be made, and this one cuts deep. Nearly 30,000 people have used the direct flight since it came to Augusta a year and a half ago. Sue Parr, President of the Augusta Metra Chamber of Commerce isn't pleased with the decision either.
She said she was shocked to hear the news.
Thom Tuckey, Executive Director of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon was too.
"We were also surprised that rather than reduce flights that have multiple non stop flights to D.C., they opted to take one from an airport that had a single flight," Thom Tuckey said.
It's a loss that Tuckey says will make it more difficult for a lot of operations at Fort Gordon.
"With the number of missions at Ft. Gordon that have a requirement to go back and forth to the D.C. area, it's bad news," Tuckey said.
16 other cities will also be feeling the pinch, no longer getting direct U.S. Airways flights to D.C., including nearby cities like Savannah, Tallahassee, and Myrtle Beach.
Now, the only way passengers will be able to get to D.C. from Augusat is by a connecting flight in Charlotte or Atlanta, which is what the airport is encouraging passengers to do, in hopes of getting the flight back.
"When the airlines see that they are still going to Washington, they'll take note of that and can possibly bring it back in the future, and we hope they do," Smith says.
Groups like the Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon are planning to crunch numbers to make sure US Airways realizes the value of an Augusta to D.C. connection.
"We feel there has been some recent news, especially with Fort Gordon that they would need to know in order to make a good market decision," Parr said.
"The Cyber Center of Excellence will attract a lot of defense contractors to this area. A lot of their headquarters are along the beltway in D.C," Tuckey said.
No word yet on when the final flight to D.C. will be, but we'll be sure to keep you updated.
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Augusta Regional Airport is losing its direct flight from Augusta to Washington, D.C.
American Airlines is canceling the flight as part of the requirements for the merger with U.S. Airways to become the world's largest airline.
17 airports are losing the direct flights through the company to the nation's capital.
They will be announcing when that change will happen after the plans are finalized in the coming weeks.