When an airline announces just one or two flights a day to an airport, one sometimes wonders why it’s bothering to make the news. So when American said that its Eagle affiliate will start turboprop service in and out of Miami late this year on two routes, one with just a single daily flight, one did wonder: the ATR-72 turboprop flights go just once daily to and from Savannah, Georgia, and twice a day, morning and evening to and from Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida, and that doesn’t make that much sense until you look at the schedule: to Savannah, the flight leaves at 8 o’clock at night - a good time for business flyers connecting from American’s huge Latin hub at Miami, an operation that already dominates the air-traffic and air-travel flow southwards from all over the States.
It may take two hours to slog the 377 nautical miles (698 km) up to the Georgia lowlands, but the service is welcome. The Savannah airport has just added a $14-million terminal that increases the airport’s gates by 50% to 15 in all. For Sarasota, 180 miles (290 km) across the state on Florida’s west coast, the ATR flight only takes one hour and one minute, but they’re glad, too, to get their two daily round trips. This is the first time Eagle has served Sarasota since 2000, when it pulled out. And it’s the first southward service from Sarasota, where the network has been focused almost entirely on sun-seekers from cold northern and midwestern climes.