On The Fly

Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) had one of the best summers on record with inbound and outbound traffic numbers up significantly.

TVC had record load rates from June through August at 83.4 percent, up from 80.1 percent and 71.6 percent in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

This is in contrast to Grand Rapids, which decreased nearly 10 percent in passenger load, and Manistee's Blacker Airport, which no longer offers service.

TVC now offers direct service to the New York, Denver and Atlanta markets and has increased capacity through additional and larger aircraft going to Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis.

How did we accomplish these changes? This past year, we collaborated with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau and negotiated with our three mainline carriers: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.

Through these conversations with the carriers, we got additional seats for our market and have experienced true fare consideration with comparable fares to airports in Michigan.

We now have airline team members visiting our business community each quarter, which impacts group fares and business fares for our community. In fact, American Airlines has consistently offered 'Net Saver' fares that are often less than other regional airports.

The trick to getting these fares? Search early and often, as these fares typically will sell out in any given market quickly. TVC average fares are improving, while fares in Grand Rapids have increased 13 percent and Flint 17 percent.

Most importantly, our community needs to continue to use its airport. We are in a fortunate position to have attracted visitors from every corner of the United States and internationally this past year. This increase is important, because it is during a time that is most profitable for the airlines, which translates into additional year-round services like more seats and more convenient schedules.

Every community across the nation is requesting additional air service, something that is rarely given by the airlines. TVC is in a good position with each one of our carriers, each of which is carefully considering the benefits of serving our community.

It is only with continued conversations with the airlines and industry professionals that we will find success in making our airline services more robust.

Thank you for flying TVC – the most convenient, cost-effective connection to the world.

Kevin Klein is the airport director for Cherry Capital Airport.