Airline pulls contract out of Macon before flights even start
A Florida-based airline has announced that it is pulling out of the Macon market before its planned flights from central Georgia to Atlanta's airport even starts.
Fort Lauderdale-based Sun Air International told Georgia transportation officials that challenges with pilot recruiting and training and establishing maintenance bases contributed to its decision.
GeorgiaSkies, which now flies the route, said last year it wanted out of the market.
The route is one of several nationwide subsidized by the federal Essential Air Service program. At one point the subsidies amounted to $464 per passenger on the 80-mile Atlanta-Macon flights, which often took off nearly empty.
Given Sun Air's withdrawal, the DOT plans to solicit a new carrier. GeorgiaSkies will continue the flights until a replacement is found.
The City of Macon received official notification on January 2 that Sun Air is withdrawing from this market.
The bid process is expected to reopen in the next few weeks. Once those proposals have been received, the City of Macon will have a chance to provide comments.
The decision of which service provider would receive the contract is ultimately up to the USDOT.
Director of Public Relations for the City of Macon, Chris Floore, says "only by expanding to other cities do we believe that passenger service will become a viable component of operations at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport."
Floore says almost 2,000 jobs and $200 million can be attributed to our Airport.
"We want to continue exploring ways to expand the impact of the airport – maintenance, operations , and passenger – as part of our effort to leverage Macon’s location, resources, and other assets to make us a transportation and logistics hub for the state and southeast region," said Floore.