12 On Your Side: Augusta Regional Airport braces for influx of Masters crowd

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email
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Augusta Regional Airport. (November 17, 2010 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / April 7, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The airport is expected to handle about 200 flights this week which is more than usual and it is prepared to accommodate the additional traffic by upgrading the jets that are bringing patrons here for the Masters. "We had an opportunity to try to take in a day at Augusta National, "said Neal McCoy

Flying all the way from Tupelo, Mississippi. "We saw Graeme McDowell so that was pretty cool to see him," said McCoy. But it was a quick turnaround for McCoy. At 6:30 this morning he was on his way to Augusta but just six hours later after his first experience at the Masters was a washout, he was heading back home from Augusta Regional Airport.

The airport is seeing a significant increase in passenger traffic this week. "We have been extremely busy. Masters week is always the busiest time of the year for us," said Lauren Smith, communications manager. She said during Masters week about 10,000 more passengers pass through the airport. To accommodate the increase in business she said the airlines are bringing in larger planes.

"If we have like a 75 passenger aircraft come in they might upgrade it to a 100 seat aircraft," said Smith.

This year Augusta Regional is welcoming direct flights from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York's LaGuardia Airport.

As McCoy headed back to Mississippi he said just getting a chance to set foot on the grass at Augusta National was a once in a lifetime experience. "What really mother nature ruined Monday for maybe the spectators is going to shape up this weekend for maybe some low scores on Thursday so I will be anxious to watch on television," said Smith.

The peak time will be Wednesday for Par 3 and Monday after the tournament as folks head back home. Meanwhile, McCoy said he planned to be back in Mississippi by 4 o'clock Monday afternoon.

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