Does anyone know the story or have a guess about several Delta 737 flights between Atlanta & Columbus, MS (GTR- a CRJ route), and Birmingham & Columbus, MS (not a scheduled route). Also involved is Columbus, GA to Columbus, MS (not a scheduled route). The activity has occurred over the past three days. The link below is to one of these flights, with the rest of them listed on the same page. All flights flew under DAL9777.
I would guess military charters. I believe there are bases at both Columbuses… Just a guess.
Military charters is very likely. I wouldn’t be a sports. Anyway, it looks like you changed your avatar too.
If so, why would they not just fly to the base? Is there a rule about commercial airliners not landing at an AFB?
Civilian aircraft operate at military air fields all the time.
Fort Benning, near CSG, does have an airfield named Lawson Army Air Field. It is unattended on weekends.
Columbus AFB, near GTR, is closed on Saturdays and federal holidays.
I realize one of the flights operated on a Friday so both airfields mentioned above would have been opened. However, it was late in the day and it may have been more efficient for them just to use the civilian airports with Delta’s own ground personnel.
Yes, if there is no airline staff at the airport then a certified loadmaster must ride with the aircraft and gets overtime pay to do so. That’s why most military charters use civilian airports.
Gotcha. Perhaps they were bringing some troops home from Iraq.
Thanks for the replies. I’ve seen this happen several times in the past and intended to post a question about it but always forgot to do so.
Well the military guesses were good ones, but after another similar appearance this weekend I’ve discovered that these are charters for the Mississippi State football team. The two “Columbuses” were the nearest airports for Auburn (Columbus, GA) and Mississippi State (Columbus, MS).
On a side note, I hear GTR is expanding to 8000’ soon and doing a terminal expansion due to industrial growth around the airport. They’re hoping the NW/DAL merger will result in some westbound destinations being added. Nice to see a smaller regional airport doing well while so many others are losing flights or commercial service altogether.
Delta 9000 series flight numbers are charter flights. Delta flies enough charters a year to qualify alone as a national airline.