Cherry Capital Airport: Changes in Store for 2014

Cherry Capital Airport: Changes in Store for 2014

By Kevin Klein

This year a changed aviation environment emerged in communities across the country. Consolidations among airlines helped companies become profitable again in an industry rife with billions of lost revenue and bankruptcies.

Now, regionalization is taking place as airlines look to serve markets that produce a return on investment. What does that mean for Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) in 2014?

Our focus will continue to be accessing the world from Traverse City. Because of this focus, the retention and growth of our three carriers is very important to the economic development of our community.

Consolidation has brought new opportunities to TVC. We served eight markets in 2013: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Newark, and New York (LGA). These markets were put in place by mergers; start-up costs were not a factor. TVC had the air service already in place so the merged companies simply added flights without having to build a brand new business. We will look to build upon these opportunities.

Airports in Michigan owe a debt of gratitude to Rep. Wayne Schmidt, who helped overcome a problem that has plagued airports and aircraft operators for many years: the lack of funding for infrastructure.

With Rep. Schmidt's help, House bills 4571 and 4572 passed, providing a long-term solution to funding the State Aeronautics Fund. This fund supports the state's obligation to Federal Airport Improvement Program Grants. This money also supports airport maintenance (painting and crack sealing), fire fighter training, navigational equipment, air service development, and more.

These bills will be debated and challenged as they are taken up in the Senate and eventually go to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Passing these two bills in the House was a very important step. It has united the state's aviation community, allowing it to promote Michigan as a place with an attractive tax structure. Aviation in Michigan is a $19 billion industry that produces good jobs and supports community economic development.

In 2014, TVC will see a return to competitive aircraft fueling. Cherry Capital Aviation is expanding its business by opening Cherry Capital Aviation Fuels Inc. It has been almost 20 years since airport users have seen fueling competition. Hopefully competitive pricing leads to more flying.

In addition, TVC is unveiling its new airport app. This tool allows travelers to view the latest flight information, while keeping all trip information in one place. Download the app today!

Thank you for flying from Cherry Capital Airport. Your support will continue to grow the opportunities that promote air service and economic development. Cherry Capital Airport is northern Michigan's favorite way to fly because of you. Our best wishes to you for a prosperous 2014.

Kevin Klein is the executive director of Cherry Capital Airport.