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Monday, February 14, 2011 - 12:24pm

Regional Airport Sees More Passengers

The Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany has seen a surge in passengers in the past year. Busier regional airports may be a sign that Georgia’s economy is recovering.

More than 35,000 people took a flight out of Albany in 2010. That’s up from 32,000 in 2009. And last month, 8 percent more travelers enplaned in Albany over the previous January.

Airport Director Yvette Aehle says the airport mostly serves business travelers with local companies such as MillerCoors and Mars.

She says a spike in business travelers signals that southwest Georgia’s manufacturing sector is feeling more financially secure:

“I think that those travel budgets are starting to ease up some. And they’re starting to let people go out and do face to face business versus using the web, doing webinars, and teleconferences and those types of things.”

Aehle says Georgia’s other regional airports are also seeing more travelers.

“We’re all doing a little bit better. We’re not pre-recession yet but if you look at the numbers and see things starting to look up a little bit definitely gives us more hope.”

Aehle says she expects to the number of travelers to rise this year, especially if more leisure travelers book flights starting with March spring breaks.