Reserving your parking spot is a new requirement after last year's traffic left some up in the air as to where they would land during Masters Week. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, March 26, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta is just a couple of weeks away from being the center of the golf universe again. That means traffic on the ground and in the air, and all those reserved parking spots for planes at Augusta Regional are almost gone.
Reserving your parking spot is a new requirement after last year's traffic left some up in the air as to where they would land during Masters Week. Now, all the local airports are teaming up together to make sure there's room for everyone.
"We just simply ran out of space," said Augusta Regional Deputy Director of Aircraft Services Ken Hinkel. "We currently are at 350 reservations, and we're close to capacity at this point."
It's a ramp in high demand at Augusta Regional when hundreds of planes need a place to land during Masters Week.
"What we call it is organized chaos," Hinkel said.
But this year, they're going for more organization than chaos. For the first time, planes will have to make a parking reservation to park their planes at Augusta Regional.
Imagine nearly 100 planes, tip to tip, so close they almost touch. That's what the ramp at Augusta National will look like in a couple weeks, but with only a few reservations left at the airport, that means some pilots will have to fly in somewhere else.
Becky Shealy is in Business Development for Augusta Aviation at Daniel Field.
"We have four airports here. There's really no reason why the other three can't relieve Augusta Regional at this time," Shealy said.
So Augusta Regional, Daniel Field, Thomson-McDuffie Regional and Aiken Municipal airports are teaming up to handle the load.
"We can accommodate 160 aircraft on our ramp. We have a contingency plan just in case we do get bombarded with other aircraft, which we're hoping for," Shealy said.
Pilot Ted Orvold is a frequent flier to Augusta.
"My boss has some friends that he's got over at Augusta National," Orvold said.
He plans on being back during Masters Week, but he knows it won't be as calm as this.
"It's a challenge for most pilots to get in and out of here on Masters Week. They'll be some airplanes probably parked on the closed runway, some maybe even be parked on the grass. Wherever they can get an airplane in, they'll be parking them there," Orvold explained.
"We've got the manpower in place. We're ready for them," Shealy said.
Augusta Regional is the only airport that requires those parking reservations. The other three only require slot reservations so the planes can land.
But , if this plan works well this year, it's possible all the airports could start requiring the parking reservations next year.