Augusta Regional Airport has already started planning for next year’s Masters tournament.
Members of the Aviation Commission’s Masters sub-committee met Dec. 9 to begin looking ahead while they await word from the Augusta National Golf Club on what impact COVID-19 might have on the tournament.
Because of the pandemic, the 2020 tournament was delayed until November and had no spectators. The 2021 tournament was held in April as scheduled but with limited spectators in attendance.
Executive Director Herbert Judon, Jr. said they are anticipating the tournament, and its impact on the airport, will return to normal in 2022.
“We are hiring people and mapping out the different parking spaces for the corporate aircraft,” he said. “We’re talking to the commercial airlines in terms of what they will be bringing in here for the Masters. Advertising and rental cars, et cetera.”
Among the changes private pilots and their passengers will see is a new area to park aircraft. Called the Eastern Operations area, it is located at 3006 Lock and Dam Ct.
“Some of the aircraft that park on our second runway, historically, we have had vans bring them back over here,” said Judon. “But we’re going to set up an area off of Lock and Dam Road where they can get off their airplane and go directly on the Lock and Dam Road and then go to the Masters.”
Staff is also assessing what impact a new hanger will have on parking the private planes.
On June 22, Augusta University Health launched AirCare, a helicopter that can provide rapid transportation for adult and pediatric patients.
The clamshell-style hanger may reduce parking by 8-to-10 spaces.
“That’s what my staff estimates,” Judon explained. “We’re continuing to look at that. They’re actually building their own hangar. If this is an issue, it will just be a one-year issue.”
Judon said the airport will be ready to welcome Masters guests, no matter the crowd size.