Flying Private to The Masters© 2017

Photo courtesy of The Masters© Golf Tournament

The Masters© Golf Tournament is right around the corner and the Augusta National Golf Club is not the only place in the Augusta area busy preparing for the festivities to be held April 3-9, 2017. If you’re planning to use private aviation to get you to and from the
action on the fairway, it is imperative that you plan ahead. With
thousands of private aircraft expected to be traveling through two of the most popular local FBOs, Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) and Aiken Aviation Enterprises (AIK), flights book quickly and arrival slots and parking is limited.

We had the chance to interview Kenneth Hinkle, Director of Aviation Services at AGS and Tessa Ready, Customer Service Supervisor at AIK, to ask them what passengers should expect when flying into the area during The Masters© week. They also gave us an inside look at what it takes to prepare for such a large international event and how they will accommodate all of the additional travelers.
Enjoy!

FlyPrivate®: “What are you doing to prepare for the influx of
traffic expected during The Masters© tournament?”

AGS Director of Aviation Services, Kenneth Hinkle: “We start the
planning process as early as August. We review items from the previous year’s event and continually make tweaks to the operations to ensure that the proper staffing levels and supplies are sufficient. We have
implemented an aircraft parking reservation system which will help
maximize ramp space utilization.”

AIK Customer Service Supervisor, Tessa Ready: “To prepare for the influx of traffic during The Masters tournament Aiken Aviation takes many steps to ensure a convenient and pleasurable experience for each
individual. Aiken Aviation brings in additional fuel trucks for speedy
fueling, additional transportation to transport passengers and pilots to and from their aircraft if needed, and the line and customer service hours are extended to accommodate those arriving or departing outside of our normal operating hours.”

FlyPrivate®: “Do you plan to ramp up staff for the event? If so,
approximately by how much?”

AGS: “Yes, we bring in additional fuelers and customer service support. We normally operate with 15 employees but that number increases to 65 during Master’s week.”

AIK: “Aiken Aviation is doubling its staff for the event in order to swiftly and professionally accommodates each aircraft.”

Photo courtesy of The Masters© Golf Tournament

FlyPrivate®: “On average, how many flights in and out of AGS and AIK do you expect during these dates?”

AGS: “Last year Augusta Regional Airport had about 2000 operations during the week and were expecting a slight improvement for this year.”

AIK: “Last year Aiken Aviation had a little over 400 arrivals during the week of The Masters. This year we are looking forward to another great week of flights.”

FlyPrivate®: “Which dates are the most popular for flights?
(i.e. What are the busiest days?)”

AGS: “Thursday is probably the busiest day because it’s the first official day for tournament play followed by the last day, Sunday evening. It’s hustle and bustle to ensure that every flight is ready for departure. It’s an amazing site to see airplanes departing one right after another.”

AIK: “The latter part of the week is the most popular for flights, when the practice rounds are over and the rounds take place on that Thursday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

FlyPrivate®: “Do you have any preferred vendors you would
recommend?”

AGS: “I couldn’t pick just one, because they all do a nice job, but what I can say is that the southern hospitality will definitely be in full effect!”

FlyPrivate®: (Check out the Masters Housing Bureau for properties to rent during your visit to The Masters©.)

AIK: “Aiken Aviation recommends Enterprise Rent-A-Car service as they will be on site that week for all your needs. There are many wonderful hotels in the area such as the Town Place Suites and the Hilton Garden Inn, just to name a few.  Downtown Aiken offers beautiful scenery with an array of unique and delicious eateries from coffee shops, diners and delis to three course gourmet restaurants.”

Photo courtesy of The Masters© Golf Tournament

FlyPrivate®: “Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about AGS and AIK that may be helpful when planning their trip?”

AGS: “Plan carefully and super early with respect to lodging, and
transportation. Most importantly enjoy your golf experience, most people never get the opportunity.”

AIK: “It is a pleasant surprise at how easy and convenient it is to fly in and out of Aiken, plus we are an easy, non-congested drive (about 27 minutes) on Interstate 20 to get to the Augusta National Golf Course. Our prompt and personalized attention along with our Southern hospitality is always a delight. We are well-known for our superior customer service and we will strive to make all trips to Aiken, SC a memorable one.”

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