Four airlines have submitted bids to the U.S. Department of Transportation, vying for the chance to provide commercial flights at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.
Bids range from $1.5 million to $2.5 million. The proposed subsidy would be paid to the company annually for providing the flights.
The lowest bid was provided by Minneapolis-based Sovereign Air Inc. The company submitted two proposals -- one requesting $1.5 million to operate two round-trip flights a day from Macon to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The proposed flights would cost passengers $46 per flight. The company submitted a second proposal requesting a $1.3 million subsidy to run three round-trip flights a day.
American Aviation Group Inc. of Sacramento, Calif., is requesting $1.6 million to provide flights to Atlanta; Kissimmee, Fla.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Washington, D.C., and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The company said it would run six departures a day from Macon with a fare of $99.
Fort Lauderdale-based Silver Airways is requesting $2 million to operate 24 weekly flights from Macon to Atlanta and to Orlando, Fla. Under this proposal, passengers would pay $44.90 to fly to Atlanta and $116 to Orlando.
SeaPort Airlines of Portland, Ore., proposes a $2.5 million subsidy to run 12 and a half round-trip flights weekly from Macon to Charlotte, N.C., and six round-trip flights from Macon to Nashville, Tenn. All of these flights, with a projected fare of $68.28, would be routed through the Athens Ben Epps Airport.
The Department of Transportation on Thursday issued an order extending service obligation to GeorgiaSkies to continue its Essential Air Service at the Macon airport through March 23. The company filed a 90-day notice with the department in April 2012 to terminate its unsubsidized Macon flights.
Sun Air Express was subsequently awarded the Essential Air Service in September 2012 but backed out of the deal in December.
Essential Air Service is a federal program that guarantees small U.S. communities maintain commercial airline service.
To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.