News 12 @ 11 o'clock -- March 4, 2009
AUGUSTA, GA -- The Augusta Regional Airport has seen it's share of passengers come and go as changes were made to the terminal. But even in this economy, the airport has seen a surprising turnaround in people boarding from the garden city.
"It's a beautiful facility and we're very happy. It's very passenger friendly and we've tried to give good value as well," said Diane Johnston, Marketing Director at Augusta Regional.
Values that Diane Johnston says have translated into a 25 percent increase in people taking flight in Augusta.
Airport officials say they think the changes to the terminal has helped their parking look like this on a daily basis, packed with cars.
"Before, folks had to sit outside in the elements while they were trying to get through passenger screening. So that wasn't a real good experience. So we think the terminal is part of it but in addition, it's the really low fares we've seen and the fact the airlines are really reliable out of here," said Johnston.
Howard Morin agrees. It's been 15 years since he's been to Augusta Regional and says he can see why the airport has more people checking in.
"It's easy to park and easy to get into the airport. Unlike Hartsfield-Jackson which I dread going to. But this is very comfortable to come to," said Howard Morin, visiting Augusta Regional Airport.
And while other airports are cutting back on flights because of the economy, Augusta Regional is adding more.
"Because we've had such a huge increase in folks using our airport, we're seeing additional seats. So the airlines have actually given us an extra flight or two above some of the other airports. So we're happy about that as well," said Johnston.
And with more flights coming to the city, Augusta Regional hopes to see more people lining up to fly out.
"As more folks start to use us, we hope to see another airline at some point and time," said Johnston.
The airport expects to see an even bigger increase during the week of the masters. Officials say they'll have direct flights from both New York and Philadelphia to accommodate the extra travelers.