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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