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‘Not too distant future’ for flights to nation’s capital, official says

Contour Aviation's CEO says his company will succeed in Macon

Contour Aviation official visited Macon Tuesday as work continues on the start of flights between Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Washington D.C.
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Contour Aviation official visited Macon Tuesday as work continues on the start of flights between Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Washington D.C.

An announcement about when flights from Macon to Washington, D.C., will officially start is expected to be made this summer, an airline official said.

Contour Aviation’s CEO Matt Chaifetz spent Tuesday at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport working through logistics for the return of daily commercial service in Macon. Contour and airport officials are also ironing out lease agreements for the flights between the regional airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

“We’ll be back in the not too distant future to announce the launch date and announce the launch of ticket sales,” Chaifetz said.

Once the service begins, Contour Airlines will offer daily round-trip flights. The introductory price for flights will be as low as $49 each way and the standard fare will eventually be $89 one way.

The flight time each way will be about 1 hour and 20 minutes and the aircraft is being reconfigured from 37 to 30 seats for expanded legroom. There will also be complementary snack and beverage service, according to Chaifetz.

Contour already offers flights between Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, as well as from Tupelo, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. In Macon, the company would fill the void left by the departure of Silver Airways in November 2014. It operated just nine months at the airport.

Contour’s airline service is more reliable than some of the recent Middle Georgia Regional Airport’s carriers, he said.

There were 74 percent of seats filled last month on Contour’s flights between Nashville and Tupelo.

“The fact that our load factor is so high and we’ve been serving Tupelo for so long, I think is a testament to the reliability,” Chaifetz said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $4.7 million annual subsidy over a two-year period for the new airline service. Washington, D.C., is the most popular flight destination for Macon and Warner Robins residents and the second overall behind New York City for all of Middle Georgia.

Airport manager Erick D’Leon said Contour’s level of service along with the popularity of trips to the nation’s capital should make the new service a success.

“The market demand here in Middle Georgia is key so I think they’ll do very well,” he said.

Stanley Dunlap: 478-744-4623, @stan_telegraph

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