GTR airport sees spike in bookings during game day weekend

Tens of thousands of fans are headed to town for Saturday's match-up between Alabama and LSU, including one from Washington D.C. - President Donald Trump. The president's arrival means the closing of airspace around Tuscaloosa Airport.

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LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Tuscaloosa, Alabama is preparing for one of the biggest football games this season.

Tens of thousands of fans are headed to town for Saturday’s match-up between Alabama and LSU, including one from Washington D.C. – President Donald Trump.

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The president’s arrival means the closing of airspace around Tuscaloosa Airport.

This means those planning to fly in will need to re-route to Birmingham or Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

With more people coming through the Friendly City, businesses can expect to see a boost in their sales over the weekend.

Thousands of people are gearing up for Saturday’s Alabama-LSU game.

And for many of those fans, the trip to Tuscaloosa will take them through Columbus.

Golden Triangle Regional Airport Executive Director Mike Hainsey says they are already seeing an increase in traffic for the weekend.

“It’s been great for us. Aside from the additional business jets coming in, we have additional people coming in on Delta. We’ve been advertising a-lot over in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa area and they are a big reason our planes are filling up,” said Hainsey.

So far, all flights are 90% full.

Hainsey said handling the additional air travelers takes a lot of work on the ground.

“The biggest thing is that we had to get everyone together, we had to get the rental cars together, get the company that handles the private jets together. We had to get the airlines together so we can plan and staff for the additional traffic,” said Hainsey.

And more people means more business.

“They rent cars, they stop and have lunch and dinner in our restaurants and some of them are actually staying over here because of they can’t get a place over in Tuscaloosa so it’s really good for the community,” said Hainsey.

Director of Sales at Wingate by Wyndham Tricia Bauer said their reservations have gone up by 70%.

“We’ve seen more hotel pickup and obviously those are two of the biggest teams. We’re picking up even now last minute reservations. We need the revenue, not only in Columbus, but all the businesses that get any guests or any opportunity to increase revenue it’s a good thing,” said Bauer.

Hainsey said he expects to have at least 300 more passengers booking flights throughout the weekend.

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