SkyWest is wasting little time in getting into Alpena County Regional Airport and setting down roots. The company announced it will begin flying here on Sept. 5, and also announced its price structure for flights to Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
From first appearances, it looks like flying to and from the airport will be one local flyers will be pleased with. While the number of flights is limited initially, the prices are going to make flying out of Alpena affordable.
"The pricing is at $158 round trip, and I can't remember the price being under $300 in the past," Wendy LaCombe, owner of World Wide Travel, said in a News story on Tuesday. "A round trip to Minneapolis is only $265, which is also a great deal. It would be hard to drive to either of these places with the price of gas and parking and save anything. Sometimes people automatically assume it costs a lot more to fly out of Alpena, but really even if it is $100 more when you figure the expenses of driving, it is probably cheaper now."
SkyWest seems primed to develop a relationship with the community and make Alpena a priority.
"It was a long process, but we are excited and looking forward to working with and servicing the community in Alpena and surrounding area," Wes Horrock, spokesman for SkyWest told The News earlier this week. "Our goal is to be competitive in the Alpena market and not only working with it for two years, but to have the service be sustained well into the future."
It is that kind of commitment from the airline that makes using and supporting the company a priority. A strong relationship between airline and community can only be beneficial to both in the long run and could lead to more flights, to both Detroit and the Twin Cities.
Come Sept. 5, if you are traveling to either destination, we encourage you to strongly consider flying. It's up to all of us to make it impossible for an airline to want to leave Alpena like Delta chose to do. It's our airport and we need to make it the best airport possible.