New Macon Airline to Offer Flights to Orlando
The Middle Georgia Regional Airport has found it's new airline. Silver Airways, based out of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. tells WGXA they plan to begin air service on April 1.
Macon's airport, which employs over 2,000 people has an estimated economic impact of $200 million annually, but it has one glaring problem, it lacks passengers. City officials believe the airports new tenant will change that.
"This was our choice. Not only are we thrilled with it, it was also our choice," said Macon Mayor Robert Riechert. "We thought that Silver Airways offered this destination alternative."
No longer will Atlanta be the only destination for air travel out of Macon. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the selection of Silver Airways to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) to Macon on it's website today.
The service will provide one nonstop trip per day and weekend not only to Atlanta but Orlando, Florida as well.
"It's also an air hub that offers a number of airlines and schedules to fly anywhere in the country," said Riechert.
A once flourishing airport with powerhouse airlines like Delta, the Middle Georgia Regional Airport took a beating from airline deregulations in the 1980's as top players in air travel began pulling out of smaller airports.
Under the EAS system, the U.S. Department of Transportation pays subsidies to airlines to keep air travel in such cities. Silver Airways will operate under a subsidy of a little over $1.99 million over two years. Under new requirements, during fiscal year 2013, Silver Airways and Macon risk losing the subsidy if the average passenger enplanement drops below 10 per day or if the subsidy exceeds $1000 dollars per customer.
Macon's estimated subsidy per passenger during the fiscal year of 2012 was $998.
"Providing the route service direct to Orlando, Florida as well, we hope will inject new life into the passenger aspect of Middle Georgia Regional Airport," said Riechert.
A press conference is set for Friday afternoon at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport to introduce Silver Airways to Macon & Bibb County. The company will fly in one of its Saab 340B Plus aircrafts to show off.