Cherry Capital Airport Sees Significant Jump In Passengers

A jump in air traffic at a Northern Michigan airport stands to benefit the entire region.

Cherry Capital Airport is seeing a significant jump in the number of passengers coming through this year.

“Year to date we have seen about a 16 percent increase of passengers.”

Airport Director, Kevin Klein says some of the boost is thanks to American Airlines adding a flight during the winter months.

More flights means more available seats.

“You’re also seeing the other carriers compete,” said Klein. “United may fly a 50 seat regional jet, but they are seeing that there is more demand out there— they changed from a 50 seat regional jet to A 66 regional jet.”

And the passenger increase has an effect on the entire community.

“That could be an increase of tourism or it could mean that there is an increase in business travelers,” said Laura Oblinger, Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

Jonathan Pack is the General Manager at Cherry Tree Inn and Suites.

The hotel offers free shuttle service to and from the airport.

“We had such a demand for it that this year– we have a full time shuttle driver that will be working seven days a week,” said Pack. 

And the increase does not only help Traverse City and surroundings communities, but those who are looking to book a flight.

“When you look on an airplane, there might be five or ten low fares. Now, when airlines have a bigger plane— those low fares go to 10, 15 or 20 people,” said Klein.