Lansing Airport Execs Aim to Stop "Leakage"

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

On a given Saturday afternoon, the Lansing airport is quiet, peaceful, and nearly empty.

"It's a migration of people from one market area to another market area," said Capital Region Airport Executive Director Robert Selig.

Selig described what he called "leakage." People are driving to other airports in cities like Flint, Grand Rapids, Detroit, or Chigago instead of flying out of Lansing, he said.

"It's definitely cheaper to fly out of Flint. It's more expensive out of Lansing," said DeWitt resident Christy Duffy.

Airport executives are doing their best to change that. Just before Labor Day, Delta Airlines lowered prices out of Lansing and there's been an increase in fliers ever since.

When Northwest and Delta airlines merged, the number of daily flights from Lansing to Detroit dropped from 11 to five. But now, that number is back up to eight. Airport officials hope that will entice passengers to choose Lansing over other nearby airports.

"You park your car in the parking lot just outside of the terminal," said Selig. "You're about 100 yards from your aircraft because it's right outside the terminal."

Travel companies like Apple Vacations are targeting Lansing passengers with package deals. This winter Apple Vacations will offer four direct weekly flights from Lansing to Cancun, and one direct to Jamaica.

"With the ease of this airport, getting in and out, you can be easily on the beach in the afternoon sipping on margaritas," said Apple Vacations Vice President and General Manager Mark Noenning.

Atlanta resident Nancy Peters flew into Flint to visit her family. But she's flying out of Lansing--much more convenient for her daughter and grandchildren who live in DeWitt.

"If we can find a better deal out of Lansing I much prefer it. It's closer to home, parking's easier," said Duffy, her daughter.

If prices stay low, Duffy won't have to drive far the next time her mom visits.

Officials hope the airport's efforts will win back passengers who were lost to high prices and lack of seats.

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  • by Anonymous on Oct 4, 2010 at 09:37 AM
    If the airport want to have great service, they need to take a loss for several years in order to get several airlines with lots of flights in here.
  • by Christopher Stone Captain Location: Holt on Oct 3, 2010 at 06:41 PM
    I guess this is the "dividend" we customers "earned" from the merger between NWA and Delta. Let's look back at the public statements and lazy media reports about how the merger would be good for flyers. NWA/Delta drove out smaller airline after smaller airline from LAN by dropping prices just long enough to kill the competition. Always to shoot the cost back to the ceiling afterwards. Just wait until we have two less competitors in the market with upcoming mergers between United/Continental and Southwest/AirTran. It's only going to get worse. Our government is supposed to regulate against monopolies and trusts, but lobbyists get these mega-mergers passed one representative at a time with campaign contributions--a form of election year extortion.
  • by James Location: Lansing on Oct 3, 2010 at 05:42 PM
    On the beach sippin margarita's.. Ya right.
  • by Marty Location: Charlotte on Oct 3, 2010 at 11:05 AM
    How do you spell JETS......I stopped after they went to all commuters. Also having the check in person also be the ramp attendent is a little concerning. No one seems to be checking the plane over (like real airports). If it is such a great resource, why isn't it overrun with flyers instead of having the airlines put it in the 2nd or lower division. The ride to Chicago is hell on a commuter.
  • by mike Location: lansing on Oct 3, 2010 at 05:48 AM
    The real problem is solely the limited flights into Lansing that are available. I will fly GRR or FNT because if my flight somewhere gets delayed or canceled, I can get on the next flight. Into Lansing, I will be stuck a day or more becuase of the poor availability.
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Oct 3, 2010 at 02:21 AM
    Very intersting. This airport has had the most outlandish landing fees for years. It is little wonder that people go to other airports to save money. I am amazed it took them so long to wake up to the fact that people are not going to support these people. This is part oif the reason that the big carriers abandon flights to Lansing. Unreaonable cost of doing business here. I am afraid it is like closing the barn doors, after all of the live stock has escaped. I wish them well, and good luck. Thank you. Ricardo
  • by Taxpayer stuck in Lansing Location: Lansing on Oct 3, 2010 at 02:06 AM
    You can't shoot a dead horse. Close this airport down. It's well proven since the majority of people don't fly from Lansing. Never have, never will. The taxpayers subsidize the people that have money to burn, business's and government. Same ol story here, same fantastic solution...close the doors... I can't afford to fly from Lansing yet I pay hundreds of dollars a year in taxes for a crappy airport.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 2, 2010 at 05:02 PM
    When you thrown in parking and gas, taking the train to chicago or bus to chicago makes perfect sense.
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