Published in Economic Development

Delta seeks to suspend flights to three Michigan airports

BY Wednesday, April 29, 2020 05:05pm

Delta Air Lines is seeking federal permission to suspend flights to airports in Lansing, Flint and Kalamazoo as air travel demand has nearly vanished during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport Director Craig Williams said Delta’s request before the U.S. Department of Transportation would move Delta flights from Lansing and Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids while flights from Flint would be diverted to Detroit.

“All of these are temporary moves,” Williams said in an email to MiBiz. “From the Airport’s perspective, any time that an airline is looking to leave a community, even temporarily, you’re disappointed. However, these are unprecedented times for the country, and specifically, for the aviation industry.”

Like airports across the U.S., Kalamazoo/Battle Creek remains open but business is “unusually slow,” Williams said. The airport typically has about 100 commercial and general aviation aircraft operations daily but is averaging about 10 percent of that now, he added.

U.S. air travel has declined by more than 95 percent, Reuters reported this week. JetBlue Airways Corp. has also requested to suspend flights to Detroit and 15 other U.S. cities, while United Airlines’ request to suspend flights to Kalamazoo was denied, Reuters reported.

Passenger travel at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids has dropped off by roughly 95 percent, airport officials recently told MiBiz.

Williams said Delta serves the Southwest Michigan region through Minneapolis and Detroit.

“Should the (Department of Transportation) approve their request we will welcome their return to Kalamazoo when the nation’s economic gears are moving again,” he said.

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