Airport highs and woes

Michigan State Roundup

Published March 1, 2001  | March 2001 issue

Delta County Airport in Escanaba pumps $21.6 million into the local economy each year, according to a community benefits estimate done by the Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics. Much of that total is induced impact, that is, how many times a dollar generated from the airport circulates through the economy. But the report also cites $4.2 million in direct impact and about $6.7 million in indirect benefits, largely based on what is spent by airline crews on motels, rental cars and restaurants and the support for local jobs in those sectors.

The dollar amount of the impact is particularly significant in light of Northwest Airlines' decision to cut Escanaba-Minneapolis flights this past year. The reductions have cost the airport flight and fuel revenues, and county administrators say losing Northwest could hurt the economy. Local officials have asked U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak and Sen. Carl Levin to assist in the fight to restore service.

Meanwhile, the airport is focusing on improving the services it can offer the community. The recently completed private commercial hangar is expected to accommodate 90 percent of the aircraft that use the airport. The Delta airport manager hopes the new hangar will encourage corporate customers, who don't normally fly to Escanaba in the winter, to so do so now that they have a place to keep their jets warm and dry.

Rosie Cataldo