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Monday, February 4, 2013 - 11:09am

Macon To Orlando Flights Possible

Flying out of Middle Georgia Regional Airport could soon become a practical option for a lot more travelers, as several airlines show interest in breathing new life into the chronically under-used airport.

Right now passengers can only fly one place out of Macon: Atlanta.

For the last few years, it’s been possible to count the number of passengers on each taxpayer-subsidized flight on one hand.

The City of Macon, which owns the airport, has been looking for a new carrier that might offer service to other cities in southeast, and now it seems they may have found one.

In fact, three of the four airlines competing to take over that federal subsidy have ambitions beyond Atlanta, said city spokesman Chris Floore.

"We’ve got an Orlando, we’ve got a Memphis, a Nashville, a Charlotte," Floore said. "Any of those cities we think could potentially be viable flying out of Macon."

Only one airline will win the contract, and the more ambitious proposals would require bigger subsidies.

Airport manager Doug Faour said he's optimistic, though he cautioned that the federal government gets final say on which company wins the subsidy.

"The Department of Transportation is also reviewing these as well, to ensure that the proposals meet their qualifications," Faour said. "It’s not necessarily based on the lowest bidder. There are a lot of factors that they include into it."

Right now, the lowest bid is from a company that only wants to fly between Macon and Atlanta.

Floore said the city will send its recommendations to the Department of Transportation within a week.

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