Cherry Capital Airport on track for record year

August 23, 2017

After welcoming a record-setting number of passengers in 2016, Cherry Capital Airport is on track to have an even bigger year in 2017. Passenger figures released Tuesday show July was the busiest “ever in the history of Cherry Capital Airport,” according to Airport Director Kevin Klein, with overall year-to-date numbers up 4.9 percent over 2016.

An estimated 77,351 total passengers came through the airport last month, a 5.7 percent increase over last July’s 73,194 count. June was also up 3.3 percent this year, bringing in 46,218 passengers compared to 44,720 in 2016. Klein attributes the summer increase to the introduction of direct flights to and from Dallas Ft. Worth for the first time this year.

Project Manager Stephanie Ward of Mead & Hunt, which assisted MDOT with the study, told airport officials Cherry Capital Airport is ranked a Tier 1 – or “critical” – airport in the state, and that the facility ranks only behind Detroit Metro and Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford airports in terms of economic impact (those facilities produce $10.6 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively). Traverse City’s next closest competitor is Flint-Bishop International, which generates $407,182 annually in economic activity.

Ward said the report estimated that 114 airports identified as “critical to making the (transportation) system of the state work” produced a total annual economic impact of close to $22 billion. “You’re 1/22 of the overall impact, which is pretty significant,” she told officials. Visitors to Traverse City also stay longer and spend more money compared to other major competing commercial airline destinations in the state, Ward said.

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