Alpena pleads for Delta

By Amanda Harrison

The Alpena Chamber of Commerce is strategizing on how to keep Delta at their airport. This after the airline announced in July that it would be leaving.  

Jackie Krawczak is executive director for the Chamber.  She attended an airport committee meeting Friday in which members decided to hire a consultant to lobby Delta to stay. The committee has sent the suggestion to the finance department.   

“I think while talking with different consultants throughout this process the odds are very slim. Probably the one said maybe a 20 percent chance that we could get them to consider Alpena again. But we might have a better chance if we can extend this process and if we can have more time to put numbers together to show some of the economic development that’s going on in Alpena that’s going to require better service than Alpena to Cleavland.”    

If Delta does not reconsider Krawczak said the bid will go to Gulfstream Airlines.


Missing pilot found by local fisherman

A missing pilot was found by local fisherman off the coast of Forestville Michigan yesterday. The man went missing after his plane crashed into Lake Huron Tuesday night.
Officials said the pilot reported having engine problems in the early evening.
Shortly after that The Federal Aviation Administration lost contact with the plane. 
Lauren Jorganson is with the Ninth Coast Guard District. She said the search began immediately after the failed contact.
The search ended after local fishermen found the pilot. 
“The fishing vessel Eagles Nest located him and picked him up, brought him on board, and he was ultimately transported to shore. He was alive and in good condition. He was transported to shore and then taken to a local hospital as a precaution.”
Jorganson said the pilot swam approximately 15 miles toward shore before being picked up.
The cause of the plane crash is currently under investigation.

Air service in jeopardy in northern Michigan.

Delta Airlines has announced plans to stop service at five northern Michigan airports, including in Alpena, Pellston and Sault Ste. Marie.
But as Mike Horace reports, the announcement may be an effort to receive a larger subsidy from the federal government…
Delta Airlines currently receives subsidies to provide service to some small airports. But those subsidies are no longer large enough for the routes to be profitable.
Kathy Noel is the manager of Chippewa County International Airport near Sault Ste. Marie. 
She says Delta’s announcement is the first step towards getting an increased subsidy — but the government will first solicit replacement carriers…
“But we went through this exercise a couple years ago, and there weren’t any credible responses to U.S. DOT’s solicitation, with the exception of Delta.”
Noel says as she understands it, Delta plans to continue offering service if it can get an increased subsidy from the government.
A Delta spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.
If Delta were to pull out of the Soo, Upper Peninsula residents would have to travel to Traverse City for commercial airline service.

MBS International Airport terminal construction on-schedule, on-budget

A $2 million grant from the Dow Chemical Company will help support the expansion of MBS International Airport in Freeland.

The airport is building a new terminal, with an expected price tag of $48 million.

Dow Chemical Company spokesperson Greg Baldwin says the airport expansion is important for the region.

“It’s a very important project to the Great Lakes Bay Region.  A modernized MBS Airport terminal is critical for the growth and prosperity for this area.  And MBS, when you look at it, is really a gateway to the business opportunities that are already in this region, and that will certainly come to this region.  Dow is going to be contributing a total of three million dollars to the MBS Commission.  Two million is a grant, and the final million goes toward advertising rights in the new terminal.”

Officials from the MBS International Airport say the project is on budget, and the MBS International Airport Commission has pledged not to use local tax dollars for the project.  Other funding includes support from the Federal Aviation Administration and state funds.

Officials say they expect the terminal to open on schedule, in 2013.

Passenger on Traverse City plane speaks about detained passenger

A Traverse City man flying home talks about his impressions of the California passenger who was detained on suspicions of dangerous behavior.

One of the passengers on that plane this morning was Robert Crosby of Traverse City.  He was flying in after a business trip to Peoria.  He sat right next to the passenger that police are now questioning and spoke with him briefly.    Crosby says the man seemed unremarkable.

“I didn’t get anything suspicious.  From my observations, there was absolutely nothing suspicious with the guy.  He was just like anyone else.  But he was the only one that took a backpack into the bathroom”

Crosby referring to the passenger going to the plane restroom carrying a backpack.   Police say no backpack or any other items were found in the bathroom.  The passenger detained by police is a 28-year old man from California.

Police say no bomb was found on Traverse City airplane

Local police and federal officials say they found no bomb on a United Express jet that landed at the Cherry Capitol Airport in Traverse City this morning.

Officials say a flight attendant saw a passenger go into the bathroom carrying when they say is an unidentified item.  When the attendant checked the room later and found a wall panel apparently tampered with, authorities were notified.

Traverse City police Captain Steve Morgan says the FBI is continuing to question the man this evening.  He says the passenger has been “extremely cooperative”.

“The passenger in question is currently denying doing anything while inside the bathroom or leaving anything inside the bathroom.  We did not find any suspicious packages or articles left anywhere”

Operations at Cherry Capitol Airport were temporarily suspended for about a half hour this morning while the plane was secured and passengers deplaned.