ALPENA - Chalk up another 1,000 enplanements for Alpena County Regional Airport.
After a successful January in which there were 1,334 enplanements, the airport and SkyWest Airlines followed that month with 1,079 for February. In 2012 there were only 764 enplanements, so the numbers show a 41.2 percent jump in passengers during what is typically a slow month.
Airport Manager Billi McRoberts said reaching the 1,000 enplanement plateau is becoming a common occurrence. She said if things continue as they are now, and when a new marketing plan takes effect, the number of enplanements for 2013 could surpass the 12,650 it had last year.
"I'm pleased the numbers continued to stay up above 1,000. We have now been above a 1,000 every month since July and I'm hoping that will continue," McRoberts said. "Once we start the new marketing campaign we'll be targeting people not only from Alpena, but also the outlying areas and that might help increase enplanements even more."
McRoberts said she believes SkyWest's consistent and dependable schedule and service is the main reason more people are choosing to fly from Alpena. She said in the past many people were turned away from flights because the jet was filled already when in arrived in Alpena.
"The service really has been more consistent then what it used to be before," McRoberts said. "In years past we had a bumping situation with the plane from Sault Ste. Marie and sometimes people didn't know if they even had a seat until the plane arrived. I believe people stayed away from flying out of Alpena because of that. We don't have that situation anymore. I think people are having a good first experience and are choosing to come back."
McRoberts said it is too early to tell if March will be a good month or not, but said last March there were 899 enplanements. If things continue as they have for the last eight months, that number should be surpassed and another 1,000 month could be in the books.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.