American, US Airways agreement good for Sawyer, region

We’d like to celebrate with Sawyer International Airport the recent good news we’ve reported regarding the airport, its flights and passenger counts.

In an agreement filed Tuesday, US Airways and American Airlines agreed to continue flight service to six airports in Michigan, including Sawyer for at least five years.

The agreement is in response to action Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette took in September to address concerns that decreased competition would have negative impacts on airports in Michigan, including the potential for reduced airline service to several smaller airports, a Schuette news release read.

“From the start, protecting Michigan residents’ access to reliable, competitive air transportation has been my priority, and this agreement with American Airlines and U.S. Airways accomplishes that goal. This settlement preserves free-market competition, protects the jobs associated with that service, and retains key airline routes in Michigan,” said Schuette. “I am pleased our negotiations resulted in a commitment to maintain daily flight service for Michigan families flying in-and-out of Michigan airports, a service especially important to our members of the military who depend upon reliable flights.”

Sawyer officials are “very pleased” with the decision and the planned merger of the two airlines.

“We feel comfortable with the outcome and look forward to the new possibilities with the merger,” said Sawyer International Airport Manager Duane DuRay. “This partnership should make the American Airlines connection more valuable to our traveling public by opening new destinations and opportunities.”

In addition to the agreement, Sawyer passenger numbers are ahead of last year and are on a pace to surpass last year’s total passenger count of 76,001. Total passenger counts for the entire Upper Peninsula are also trending to surpass last year’s total of 213,308.

We know there are challenging days ahead for Sawyer, which is already battling a range of issues related to air travel, pricing, costs and competition.

At least for now, this is good news pointing toward the future and we want to acknowledge that and signify our appreciation.