Professional golfers such as Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson might be busy practicing their swing, but FBOs in the Augusta, Georgia area have the Masters Tournament down to a tee. From April 6 through 9, charter company Wheels Up is expected to fly approximately 200 flights in and out of the area via Daniel Field Airport (DNL) and Augusta Regional Airport (AGS). The company will also arrange shuttle flights from Atlanta (PDK) and Teterboro (TEB) to Daniel Field. FBO managers at these airports have been gearing up for the event by taking precautions and staffing up.
According to NBAA, Augusta Regional Airport will close Runway 8/26 and taxiways A and E to accommodate aircraft parking. Ramp control advisory services will be managed by John Wayne Air Cavalry LLC.
Ken Hinkle, the director of aviation services for Augusta Regional Airport Aviation Services, told AIN that there are no reservations required, as the aircraft will come in and out on a first-come, first-served basis. The FBO added 80 to 100 staff members, including 16 to 20 linemen, to keep up with the arrivals. However, Hinkle said that the advantage of having the tournament in Augusta every year is that the Augusta Regional Airport Aviation Services crew works off of a template that can be easily modified each year.
Augusta Aviation’s v-p of business development, Becky Shealy, told AIN that the FBO has brought in additional ground power units and hired independent contractors. Through its online registry DNL FasTrak, the FBO has booked approximately 70 reservations. However, this number can easily change. With the Wheels Up King Airs coming through, Thursday will be the FBO’s busiest day, Shealy said. Ultimately, Shealy estimates that Augusta Aviation will pump 6,000 to 7,000 gallons of jet-A.
While these FBOs are welcoming aircraft, Wheels Up will also host its fourth annual “Wheels Up Hospitality House” during which members can receive breakfast, lunch and cocktails Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The company will also host its fourth annual “Wheels Down at the Masters” which is a members-only party that features refreshments and live music.