Politics & Government

Macon-Bibb airport passenger flight bids held open

It will take a little longer to find a new passenger carrier for Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

Monday was the deadline for bids from airlines to the U.S. Department of Transportation on providing subsidized flights from Macon to Atlanta, and possibly other destinations. But Macon-Bibb County Airport Manager Doug Faour received an extension of that deadline until Jan. 8, Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said.

Silver Airways provided passenger flights to Atlanta and Orlando since April 2013, getting a $2 million annual subsidy from the federal Essential Air Service program. But after failing to reach the 10-passengers-per-day average needed to guarantee the subsidy’s continuation, Silver announced that it would stop local service by Nov. 5. The U.S. DOT opened the service up for bid again.

Faour recently went to an airline industry conference, and several potential bidders told him they were interested in serving Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Floore said. But they asked for more time to put together formal bids, saying that would take longer during the holidays, he said.

So Faour requested an extension of the bid period, and federal officials have granted that, Floore said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.