Albany-- Atlanta native Frank Bell is like many passengers flying into Albany, "I'm always fly ASA coming in," he says.
Bell flies Atlantic Southeast Airline into Southwest Georgia Regional Airport about twice a month. He is one of a near record number of passengers boarding ASA flights in Albany. 2007 saw a 12% increase over the previous year. The best mark since 2000.
He says, "Every time I come through, it's good service. I never have a problem. TSA is quick. I just love coming in because it's in and out."
Airport Director Yvette Aehle agrees that ASA's performance has been nothing shy of A plus when it comes to cancellations - this, despite the fact the airline ranked dead last among the top carriers nationwide.
She says,"I've always been a big advocate of our staff because they do a really good job. And if we have bad weather cancellations, then they really do their dead-level best to get people re-booked."
Of the 1,282 ASA flights operated out of Albany last year, only 29 of those were canceled. That's a 44% decrease from 2006. And despite its low ratings elsewhere, 80% of the Delta Connection carrier flights arrived on time in 2007. Aehle says you combine that good record with the airport's convenience, and it's easy to understand why more passengers choose to fly from Albany.
"They're looking at traveling out of Albany versus having to drive 3 hours to Atlanta. Going through the security line there versus here, which only takes 10-15 minutes. And they're looking at less expensive parking here."
With just over 40,000 passengers boarded in 2007, airport officials hope than 2008 can make that number go even higher