The Garden City is just days
away from the biggest week of the year. The
Masters Tournament will be bringing in thousands to Augusta. And while some out-of-town guests may be
choosing to drive here – there are just as many, if not more, who will be
flying. WJBF News Channel 6's Barclay
Bishop has more.
Augusta Regional has been
dealing with increased Masters traffic for decades, but that doesn't mean that
it gets any easier. They'll be seeing
thousands of visitors in and out of their terminals for the tournament. To
accommodate their guests – U-S Airways and Delta have added direct flights from
New York City and Philadelphia. The
airport itself will be beefing up staff – all in an effort to make this
tournament week run as smooth as possible for the golf patrons and other
visitors coming to Augusta.
“In a given month we
see about 20,000 people and next week, we normally have a little under 20,000
people in the one week. It amazes me how
many people come here to watch golf,” said Lauren Smith, Communications Manager
for Augusta Regional Airport. “And how
many people use our airport, we're ecstatic to see how many people come through
Progress is always being
made at the airport, one of the most recent projects was the completion of
their parking lot expansion.
Changes are also something
that comes with progress, and change is being made in how private planes will
be accommodated this Masters – now they will need reservations.
In years past, aircrafts would have to wait for a spot to open
once they landed, or they were diverted to other airports because Augusta
Regional was out of room. Now, with
reservations, they don't have to do that.
they can reserve a spot for several hours or days – whichever they
choose. And while this airport is
getting business – officials say it's helping out surrounding airports as well
because they'll have a little more heads up that more aircrafts could be
heading their way.
“Before we could
accommodate 130 aircrafts, and this year we can only accommodate 85 into our
reduction of our taxiway Alpha. But they
feel more secure, more relaxed,” said Kenneth Hinkle, Deputy Director for
Augusta Regional Airport. “They feel that,
hey, we have a ramp space instead of being diverted to another airport.”
Although they need reservations to park – planes have always been
required to have a reservation to land.