ALPENA - It has been about two weeks since SkyWest Airlines assumed service at the Alpena County Regional Airport, and according to Airport Manager Billi McRoberts, things are going well. She said it seems people are using the new service, and the flights are arriving and departing as planned.
McRoberts said even though it will be at least several weeks until the enplanement numbers are released by SkyWest, she believes they will be favorable.
"So far everything has been going great," McRoberts said. "The flights are coming and going as scheduled, bookings seem to have picked up, and the terminal is full of people. I've had many positive comments about the process and convenience, and they seem to be very pleased with SkyWest."
McRoberts said she has reason to believe the number of enplanements could top 1,000 for September due to the activity at the airport, as well as an upward trend the airport has seen for the month the last four years. She said in 2008 there were only 647 enplanements, and it has increased each year, topping out at 1,051 last year. The airport has been so busy the speed at which they are processed is a minor concern to SkyWest.
She said after the customers are screened, they are held in a checkpoint or service area, which only holds a limited amount of people. Once the area is filled, security is forced to halt more screenings until the passengers in the checkpoint have been release to board the plane. McRoberts said the airport and the airline are looking for a solution to the problem.
"It is a concern to SkyWest because it could affect their performance record. It hasn't been a large issue yet, but it could hold them up from when they are scheduled to take off and it could affect them," McRoberts said. "We are working with engineers and with SkyWest to find a solution, but we are probably going to have to make some modifications and expand the area."
McRoberts said she anticipates the September enplanement numbers sometime in the first week of October.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.