Four airlines are vying for the chance to provide passenger flights from Macon's airport to Atlanta and possibly other cities. They have submitted bids to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which subsidizes Macon flights under the federal Essential Air Service program.
A Florida-based airline has announced that it is pulling out of the Macon market before its planned flights from the central Georgia city to Atlanta's airport had started. Fort Lauderdale-based Sun Air International told Georgia transportation officials that challenges with pilot recruiting and training and establishing maintenance bases contributed to its decision.
A group of central Georgians studying the future of Macon's airport recommends that it should concentrate on increasing technical jobs related to aviation. A new passenger carrier is scheduled to start daily flights from Macon to Atlanta on Dec. 1, but the planning group believes the central Georgia airport should not count on that continuing indefinitely.
A small airport that only has passenger flights from Macon to Atlanta may lose federal subsidies after ticket sales lagged last year. Georgia Skies flew less than 3,000 passengers between the cities in 2009 from Middle Georgia Regional Airport. Now, federal Department of Transportation officials are considering lowering the $466-per-passenger subsidy or doing away with it altogether, which would eliminate passenger air travel from Macon altogether.