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Flights from Middle Georgia to Washington, D.C., area to be extended until 2023

What to expect flying from Macon to the Baltimore-Washington airport

Macon-Bibb County officials toured the Baltimore-Washington D.C., airport Thursday after taking part in the first flight for a new Middle Georgia airline service.
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Macon-Bibb County officials toured the Baltimore-Washington D.C., airport Thursday after taking part in the first flight for a new Middle Georgia airline service.

Since Contour Airlines arrived in Macon two years ago one of its most frequent fliers has been Michael Dean with more than 90 trips under his belt.

Dean, who travels for business, will have many more opportunities to fly between Macon and the Washington, D.C., with the service expected to continue for at least another four years.

Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Contour Airlines have been approved for a $19.5 million federal grant that would subsidize the service to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport from August 2019 to September 2023.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission is scheduled to vote in June to extend the service with Contour.

Dean says Contour’s flight service is comparable to the best he has experienced flying with other commercial airlines.

“I would say the customer service is even better because of the size of the flight and the personal attention,” he said.

Contour brought back commercial flight service to the Macon-Bibb airport in 2017 after a $4.7 million annual subsidy from the U.S. Department of Transportation was awarded over a two-year period.

There were 6,852 passengers who boarded planes at the regional airport from January-May 2019. The flights have been more than 80% full during that period, according to Macon-Bibb County.

The Essential Air Service program’s subsidies allow airlines to keep their fares lower. There are 175 communities that depend on the program in order to have scheduled air service, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Middle Georgia airport has also had success with the Sun Country casino charter flights, which has two flights scheduled for June and July.

The airport also will receive a $1 million grant for various improvements after having more than 10,000 passengers board planes in 2018.

Contour’s service filled the void left by the departure of Silver Airways in 2014 after nine months operating at the regional airport. Prior to that, Georgia Skies left after having fewer than 500 passengers in 2012 and experiencing issues with delays and cancellations.

Another Contour flight service that operated out of the regional airport ended in February after a limited-run. The flights to Tampa, Florida, were not part of the Essential Air Service program.

Macon resident Juawn Jackson said flying out of the regional airport keeps people from having to go through the hassle at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“You don’t have to be surrounded by so many people to get to your destination in Washington, D.C., in a timely and safe manner,” the 25-year-old said.

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