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Augusta airports see financial boost from visitors flying in for Masters

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - While our local businesses are getting a financial boost this week, so are our local airports.

Both Augusta Regional and Daniel Field say they’re seeing the number of people flying in and out of Augusta go up as the week goes on.

It’s been busy here all day, as planes on both sides of the runway coming in from every direction.

They’re bringing in waves of people for Masters week, and it’s bringing in waves of support for our local airports.

“We’re thankful that the Masters is going to be here again this spring,” Lauren Smith with Augusta Regional Airport said. “We’re happy to see each day so far we’ve seen more and more people come in.”

Thankful because of this. Augusta Regional says Monday they saw their biggest single-day crowd of travelers in the past year.

“We love to see it you know we want to see the airport busy and economically we want to be prosperous as well so we’re happy to see everyone start to come back and start to travel again as well,” Smith said.

Through the pandemic, Augusta Regional received more than $19 million in CARES Act funds to help continue their growth they were seeing before the pandemic.

They’re hoping those funds and these patrons will help get them get back on track.

“We are continuing to talk to the airlines to try and get as many direct flights as we can,” Smith said. “We are trying to get new flights; we’re always talking to them to keep Augusta in the forefront.”

Much like Augusta Regional, last year was hard on Daniel Field too.

“The beginning of 2020 was horrible. There were weeks that we didn’t see anybody here on the airport,” Becky Shealy, airport manager of Daniel Field, said.

That means no one is buying fuel or paying for a spot on the runway.

“Fuel sales are what keeps our doors open and when aircraft aren’t out here buying fuel then we have a hard time making ends meet,” Shealy said.

But they’re hoping at least 20 percent of the usual Masters crowd shows up to help them out.

“This is just such a refreshing scene to see here this year for Masters 2021,” Shealy said. “And we’re holding our own.”

We won’t know the exact number of people who have traveled here during Masters week until around mid-May. Both airports want to wait until they have an accurate count of who actually came here.

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