The number of local air travelers choosing the Valdosta Regional Airport is on the rise. Experts point to several factors for the increase in travelers.
The air travel business in Valdosta is finally seeing a rebound in passenger traffic. A record number of people flew out of the Azalea City in October, and numbers for November remained strong as well.
"It means the economy hopefully is picking up in general. For the airport itself, it means increased revenues because there is a passenger facility charge for each passenger that flies out of here," says Bob Holliway, airport executive director.
The money raised by those passenger fees allows the airport to complete Federal Aviation Administration approved projects, and with more passengers the projects can be completed in a quicker time.
Passengers say they have several reasons for choosing Valdosta Regional Airport.
"This airport is very accessible, there aren't long lines or long waits. As opposed to driving four hours to Atlanta, or 1 1/2 hours to Jacksonville to get on a flight, its a very affordable and very easy to do from here. I can just leave my car in the parking lot for three or four days at a time and I don't have to pay anything for it, so it’s very convenient to do that," says frequent flier Linda Evers.
Some travelers say they're hopeful the passenger numbers remain strong and even increase, so Atlantic Southeast Airlines will consider adding more flights, or even attract another airline, which could help lower prices.
Valdosta airport officials are still pushing for an expansion of the runway, which they believe could also attract major shipping companies like UPS or FedEx.