Florida Airline Picked for Macon-Atlanta Service | News
A Florida-based airlilne has been chosen to run air service between Macon and Atlanta for the next two years.
The U.S. Department of Transportation picked Silver Airways, based in Fort Lauderdale.
Under their order, Silver will provide one round-trip flight to Atlanta each weekday and one weekend flight -- a total of six a week.
The airline will also provide six round-trip flights a week to Orlando.
They'll use 34-passenger Saab 340B aircraft, according to the federal order.
The Department of Transportation approved an annual subsidy of $1,998,696 a year to Silver for the next two years.
They were one of four bidders for the Macon-Atlanta service; the others all asked for federal subsidies between $1.5 million and $2.5 million a year.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert sent the federal agency a letter supporting the Silver bid. He wrote that the combined Orlando and Atlanta services would put Macon "in the center of a busy transportation route."
The flights to Atlanta are considered "essential air service" under federal transporation policy, and that qualifies them for subsidies.
But even with those subsidies, other airlines have had trouble keeping the service going.
The current airline, Georgia Skies, asked for permission to pull out of the Macon service because ridership is too low. Just under 1,400 passengers boarded flights in Macon during fiscal 2012 -- about 27 a week.