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Joint venture geared at moving Montgomery Regional Airport forward

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A new initiative is underway to get people to fly from Montgomery Regional Airport. The airport and chamber of commerce want more people to choose Montgomery instead of driving to Birmingham or Atlanta to catch a flight.

For some, flying in and out of the Montgomery Regional Airport beats the stress of fighting traffic to get to other airports.

"It's very quick and easy. It's not very big and it's easy to get around in. I like it," said businessman Jeff McKinney who flies out of the airport every other month.

And that's what Chip Gentry says that's one of the airports selling points.

With more than 20 years in the airline industry, Gentry is now the vice president of Air Service Development- his position the product of a joint venture between the airport authority and Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

"The position is not only to protect the level of air service we have, hopefully allure new carriers in here but at the same time as the River Region is continuing to grow, this position is to augment the request for proposals for new businesses. That's a key part for businesses relocating or expanding to the area. One of the key things they look at is strong level of air service," he told WSFA.

Gentry hopes more and more people will choose Montgomery's airport once they factor in gas and parking prices and time and traffic.

"A lot of times, if you're able to get in there and scoop up those fares, you can get very reasonable prices where in a lot of cases, it's less than Atlanta and less than Birmingham," he said.  "If you're able to shop the fares in advance, there's a lot of deals to be had flying Montgomery. It's very easy and convenient access. We don't have long security lines... We're technically one stop to the world."

He's also setting his sights on making some changes.

"We're going to start improving the aesthetics of the airport. We're also looking at adding loyalty program to entice more people here. And it's also very important to realize that when you use another airport, you're putting money in those cities' economy and you're neglecting Montgomery County,' he added.

The airport has nine flights a day to Atlanta and three flights a day to Charlotte and Dallas-Fort Worth through Delta, American and US Airways.

 Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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