Public gets peek at airport operation

KI SAWYER- The public had an opportunity Wednesday to get a look at the behind the scenes operation at Sawyer International Airport Wednesday.

Visitors to the open house were given a guided tour of the airport service center to look at some of the equipment, the operations and the airport’s fire department.

The reason the service center was picked for the tour is because it’s a part of the airport operation that nobody really sees, airport manager Duane DuRay said.

“When you think of the airport you think of the airline terminal, the airline planes. You don’t think about what it takes to keep the airport open when it’s snowing or in the summer when we’re cutting grass or just maintaining the airfield in general,” DuRay said. “Of course, the one area we hope we never have to see is the fire department, but it’s still a very intricate part of the puzzle and the community should get a view or a spotlight on some of those assets we have.”

Along with the tour, there was an exhibit in a hanger that featured area businesses, including those associated with the airport.

The open house was held to help bring public awareness to the airport and to bring out the business community to Sawyer to see what the airport and community out there has to offer, DuRay said.

“We’re off the beaten path for Marquette business. Granted, I’m not saying the Marquette businesses don’t utilize the airport, but we’re not main street,” he said. “We’re off the path and a lot of people don’t see it everyday and they don’t see that this affects the area economy.”

DuRay said he hopes that when people left the open house they had a better idea of what the airport does and what it contributes to the community.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.