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Independence Air Making Festive Arrival in Region

By Thomas Whitehead

TBR Staff

In anticipation for the arrival of Independence Air to the coastal Georgia and Lowcountry area later this summer, the Savannah/ Hilton Head International Airport will be hosting two welcoming festivals in July.

The first invitation-only event will be held in Savannah on July 12 at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa Harbor Ballroom. The next night, July 13, the welcoming festival will take place on Hilton Head Island at The Inn at Sea Pines. Both festivals will feature live music and airline ticket giveaways.

"We're completely thrilled to have Independence Air coming here," said Lori Lynah, director of marketing for the Savannah Airport Commission. "We are glad to have another player here at the airport. More competition keeps fares lower," Lynah said.

Dulles, Va.-based Independence Air, a subsidiary of Atlantic Coast Airlines Holdings, has chosen Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport as one of its 35 summer launch destinations with discount-fare service scheduled to begin Aug. 1. Unlike most other low-fare carriers, Independence Air offers reserved seating.

Six daily non-stop flights will be offered from Savannah to Washington Dulles International Airport, with connections to 25 cities available by later this summer. The prices for flights out of Savannah will range from $69 to $140, one-way, the airline says.

Independence Air's arrival will add to already high traffic at the airport. May 2004 was the highest recording of boardings in any month ever at the airport. Traffic was 17 percent more over May 2003.

All flights went on sale last week on the Independence Air Web site at flyi.com. All fares are sold one-way, and a Saturday night stay is not required on any fare. Seat assignments can be reserved at the time of booking, and flights are not overbooked, the airline said. Flights from Savannah to Washington will be aboard newly upgraded 50-seat iJETs. The aircraft does not have middle seats - everyone gets either an aisle or window seat, the airline said.

The upstart airline will also begin adding 27 new 132-passenger Airbus A319s at Washington Dulles this fall. The Airbus aircraft-scheduled to launch in November-will allow Independence to offer low-fare service from Washington to major destinations in Florida, the Midwest and across the country to the West Coast.

Robert N. Ashcroft, an analyst with UBS Investment Research, said the low-fare airline has a host of challenges ahead.

"They're transforming their entire business within a space of a few months, and that is a tremendous challenge. And there are lots of questions," Ashcroft said in a Washington Post article. "Can they manage a hub with 87 airplanes? They have never done that before. Can they manage customer service for that many people all at once? Forget about doing it profitably. Can they just do it?"

Analysts are also concerned that reservations for Independence can be made only through the airline's Web site (www.flyi.com) or toll-free phone number. Independence, concerned about costs, decided not to pay to be listed on the widely used Orbitz, Travelocity or Expedia Web sites.

Independence formerly flew as United Express but severed its relationship amid a battle with United Airlines over the amount it was being paid to operate each United Express flight.

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Passenger departures, arrivals up by double digits

Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport is seeing the highest passenger numbers since 9/11.

Passenger boardings at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport reached 82,816 in June, a 12 percent increase over June 2003. Year to date, boardings are up 15 percent over the first six months of last year.

Arrivals are up 12.69 percent for June with 82,375 last month compared to 73,099 in June 2003. The number is the highest since June 2001.

Director of Marketing Lori Lynah expects the numbers to continue growing, as the economy recovers nationwide. Responding to the revitalized economy, several airlines have added larger aircraft and more flights at the airport, Lynah said.

Dulles, Va.-based Independence Air, formerly Atlantic Coast Airlines, started Sunday six daily non-stop flights from Savannah to Washington Dulles International Airport, with connections to 25 cities available by later this summer.

Lynah said airport officials are not worried about accommodating the increased traffic. She said the Savannah Airport Commission is planning an expansion of the 10-year-old terminal to begin in 2005.

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Good news for Savannah. Visitors as a whole seem to be up in the area recently. I'm glad to see its drawing more and more people.

Hopefully the increased flights, expansion of the airport, and the visibility that brings will lead to increased business investment in areas outside of tourism.

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That is great news for Savannah! Jacksonville has Independance Air too. We are growing as well!

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Also, just read where American Airlines is starting service in April.

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Welcome to the Urban Planet Shaw1013!

Is independece still around in Svannah?

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suprised noone has said anything about the airport expansion, for any who dont know, they are adding a four lever parking garage and adding on to the terminal, making it, i f i remember correctly, the fastest growing airport in the southeast. does anyone else know about the flights they are adding?

Savannah airport

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If I remember correctly the new terminal will add 6 new gates.... and its already leased out space for a new golf themed restaurant....I love the new parking deck, its well needed, and looks great with the exisitng building! talk about hotel expansion for the Savannah airport.... already open - Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites, Comfort Suites, 4points, Hawthrone Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Staybridge Suites... and coming soon and under construction are Country Inn & Suites, Cambria Suites, Towneplace Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Candlewood Suites, Wyndham Garden Inn and Wingate Inn ..... its insane! is that many rooms needed rite now? maybe the future yes but now! anyways all these development looks good anyways.....

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If I remember correctly the new terminal will add 6 new gates.... and its already leased out space for a new golf themed restaurant....I love the new parking deck, its well needed, and looks great with the exisitng building! talk about hotel expansion for the Savannah airport.... already open - Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites, Comfort Suites, 4points, Hawthrone Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Staybridge Suites... and coming soon and under construction are Country Inn & Suites, Cambria Suites, Towneplace Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Candlewood Suites, Wyndham Garden Inn and Wingate Inn ..... its insane! is that many rooms needed rite now? maybe the future yes but now! anyways all these development looks good anyways.....

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Savannah International Airport just added a direct flight to Miami, FL! very cool ..... :lol:

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Savannah International Airport just added a direct flight to Miami, FL! very cool ..... :lol:

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For other news, the Airport's new parking decks are about open and now they can reep the awards of having new building, price increasing = more money for the airport...

"The Savannah Airport commission on Wednesday approved rate increases for daily, weekly and valet parking fees at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport's new parking decks.

The daily maximum for short term parking will go from $10 to $12, while the daily maximum for long term parking will go from $7 to $8. Weekly rates in long term will go from $35 to $60, while the weekly rate for economy parking will go from $35 to $40.

The new rates will go into effect when the parking decks open in October."

btw, SAV airport should have higher numbers then the other's in the state - because of our location.. and how many people really want to fly into macon or columbus :lol: j/k guys

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For other news, the Airport's new parking decks are about open and now they can reep the awards of having new building, price increasing = more money for the airport...

"The Savannah Airport commission on Wednesday approved rate increases for daily, weekly and valet parking fees at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport's new parking decks.

The daily maximum for short term parking will go from $10 to $12, while the daily maximum for long term parking will go from $7 to $8. Weekly rates in long term will go from $35 to $60, while the weekly rate for economy parking will go from $35 to $40.

The new rates will go into effect when the parking decks open in October."

btw, SAV airport should have higher numbers then the other's in the state - because of our location.. and how many people really want to fly into macon or columbus :lol: j/k guys

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