Airline wants to fly you - to airport
Company seeking permission for air shuttle from Briscoe to Hartsfield

LAWRENCEVILLE - If the thought of sitting in rush-hour traffic on the way to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport makes your stomach sick and your head ache, relief may be on the way.

A local charter airline said Tuesday it is looking to gain approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for the county's first air shuttle service between the Gwinnett County Airport in Lawrenceville and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta.

The flights by Wings Air would take less than 15 minutes, company officials say, and would cut out traffic, parking and security screening issues at Hartsfield-Jackson.

"This is something that the Atlanta market has needed for some time," said Charlie Mintz, chief executive officer of Wings Air. "Traffic in Atlanta is not getting any better, security lines are not getting any shorter and this is the solution people are looking for."

Fares for the flights are still undetermined, Mintz said, but should range between $50-$100 each way.

Under the plan's current arrangements, passengers will be allowed to park at the Gwinnett County Airport for free on land leased by Wings Air, said Matt Smith, the airport's manager.

Passengers will also spend less time waiting in security lines because the inspection will be done at the Gwinnett County Airport instead of Hartsfield-Jackson. When passengers arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson, they will be delivered to one of the airport's terminals and will not have to go back through security again.

Wings Air plans to offer published, scheduled flights throughout the day, but Mintz said he anticipates there being a heavier load of flights during rush hour times.

Because the company will now be offering a regular schedule of flights, it will need approval from the FAA to change its designation from an unscheduled, on-demand airline to a commuter airline. Wings Air has previously focused on offering request-only flights to beach destinations such as Destin and St. Simons Island. Mintz said there shouldn't be any complications with gaining FAA approval - it's mostly a matter of paperwork.

Wings Air hopes to have the air shuttle service up and running in the first quarter of 2008.

Smith said he sees no problem with the plan because it currently meets the Gwinnett County Airport's standards - if there is a nine-passenger limit it is considered a general aviation flight and Wings Air will be using a model of plane that already flies out of the airport (a nine-passenger Piper Chieftain).

"If it can get traffic off the roads, that's a good thing," Smith said.