As the region awaits word from the U.S. Department of Transportation as to the next step in the bidding process for air service in and out of Alpena, the community learned this week emplanements topped the 10,000 mark.
The number confirms what area residents have known all along - flying from Alpena is popular, practical and important.
Specifically, the 10,000 threshold is used by the Federal Aviation Administration as the ticket of eligibility for $1 million to be used for capital improvements in 2013.
As a means of comparison, the airport received $150,000 from the feds last year. In an environment where government funding of projects is shrinking instead of expanding, the money will be well received and treated like gold locally.
If anyone doubted the importance of ensuring Alpena is serviced by a reliable air carrier, this number should answer it. The airport is an integral and important transportation hub of our region and obviously, a lot of people are making use of it.