MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Silver Airways is taking the Middle Georgia Regional Airport to new heights. Since the airline took off two months ago, more passengers are choosing to fly out of Macon and they are enjoying the new option.
Craig Smith travels from Florida to Macon once a month for business. He says that trip is easier now that he can avoid the Atlanta airport and fly straight into the city.
"It's a much smaller airport. It's easier to get your rent-a-car, you walk right over to your rent-a-car, you walk right through security," Smith said. "[It's] much faster, not having to go down stairs, get onto a train, go look for my luggage, so its much easier.
Since Silver Airways took flight on April 1st, airport manager Doug Faour says he's seen an 80% increase in enplanements—that's the number of people flying out of Middle Georgia Regional Airport.
"We're confident that we're moving in the right direction," Faour said. "The Essential Air Service program wants us to get to 10 enplanements per day which we are very close to getting back to right off the bat, so I anticipate we'll hit that number real soon."
Faour hopes more travelers will go Silver because it is convenient and cheaper. No more driving to Atlanta or
"Once the word gets out that you can obtain convenience and cost savings from flying out of here, the numbers are going to go up, it just makes sense," Faour said.
Traveler Charles Hannsberry says that is already working.
"I'm already making plans on trying to get back and using the airport as a possible means of doing it instead of driving or flying into Atlanta," Hannsberry said.
"I think good things are going to come and I'm real confident that this is going to continue to grow," Faour said.
And it is only going up from here.
Faour says the airport must reach a certain number of passengers in order to get federal funding.
"I think it has been a great start. It's not going to happen overnight. We're not going to hit 40,000 enplanements by a snap of a finger, it's just not going to happen," Faour said. "It's going to take time for us to grow the enplanements again, but I'm really confident that we're going to be able to do that."
Silver Airways offers flights to and from Atlanta and Orlando, Florida. On July 1st, the airline is switching its travel times. Flights to Atlanta will happen in the morning and flights to Orlando will talk place during the evening.