Valdosta has long been dependent on a lone carrier, Delta/ASA, to provide air service to the community. Efforts to attract a second airline in 2001 were lost in the fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Although passenger traffic declined for a few months following that tragic event, it rebounded in recent years to record levels as improved jet service helped to attract travelers back to the skies.

However, recent escalations in ticket prices coupled with canceled flights and poor customer relations have caused the numbers to decline. The Valdosta Airport Authority was successful in getting the fares reduced only to face another hurdle -- a cancellation of one of the four flights, reducing the number to three daily beginning Sept. 1. Among its reasons, the airline cited fewer passengers, not taking into account that their own practices at the very least contributed to the decline.

With a military base active in the Iraq conflict needing commercial air travel to augment military flights, in addition to the number of business and pleasure travelers in our growing community needing access to reliable air transportation, a reliable carrier is a necessity.

The airport is poised to grow with the community. It already has space for a second airline, it's lengthening the runway to accomodate larger aircraft and it has addressed parking and other issues to serve the best interests of the flying public in our region.

Valdosta needs a reliable air carrier that will respond to customer needs and resolve issues quickly. The Airport Authority is currently working with Delta/ASA to remedy these issues and appears hopeful that a solution will be forthcoming. We urge them to try and reach a resolution before travelers give up and fall back on old habits, driving to other cities to catch flights, and before economic recruitment is hurt.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Trending Video

Recommended for you