News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, April 10, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A day before the tournament begins, people are starting to flood the city.
Possibly the only place as busy as the course is the Augusta airport, but with the new parking reservation system in place, this year airport officials say everything is more organized.
"It was nice coming in," Patron Scott Adami said.
Adami is one of hundreds of people taking their first steps into Augusta.
"Very excited to be here. I've wanted to come here all my life and got the opportunity this year to come," Adami said.
Before visitors can make it to the green grass of Augusta National, they have to find a place for their plane on the ramp. Thanks to the new parking reservation system, this year, there's space for everyone.
"Right now it's more relaxed . There's no 'Wow I don't have a space for my aircraft' or 'Wow, I have to circle in the air until i get it,'" Augusta Regional Deputy Director of Aircraft Services Kenneth Hinkle said.
People flying in this year notice a difference.
"Very pleasant. The weather's good. Nobody had any delays getting in from anywhere," Wes Wolters, First Officer for a chartered airline, said.
It's an impressive task when an airport that usually has four or five jets coming in each day now has five arrivals each hour.
"Today I think it's about 110 aircraft coming in today," Hinkle said.
"There's airplanes everywhere. There's a lot of big toys out there," Wolters said.
Last year, 1,127 planes landed at Augusta Regional. Another 1,034 landed at the other three regional airports.
While Augusta Regional would normally handle about 75 percent of the planes coming in, this year, they're sharing the wealth.
"It's a nice flow with all the airports helping out. It's making it more manageable to handle the needs of the aircraft," Hinkle said.
As the airport helps aircraft come in, the new system helps and get patrons out the door faster.
"I'm excited about Tiger getting his game back. As soon as I get out of here, I hope to get to see him this afternoon," Adami said.
Augusta Regional is all booked up for parking reservations, but Daniel Field, the next closest airport, says they have room. Aiken Municipal Airport and Thomson-McDuffie Airport have room as well.