Sawyer International Airport

How is Sawyer Airport part of a medical team? Because it’s a critical link between area hospitals, their doctors and staffs, and their patients and suppliers.

A PET scanner is a typical example of how a hospital is involved with Sawyer Airport. A radioactive sugar solution with a very short half-life is prepared in another location, flown to the airport on those days on which PET scans are scheduled, and rushed to a hospital.

When injected into a patient, the radioactive sugar solution excites cancer cells so they are able to be photographed by a special camera. Imaging specialists exam the results to locate the cancer, determine its extent, and plan a course of treatment.

PET scans have led to effective treatment programs for countless cancer patients in those hospitals which have PET scan technology available, and Sawyer Airport has had a critical role in these treatments.

The airport plays a big part in the timely delivery of other key factors in the health system:

– Organ transplant teams count on Sawyer Airport for quick and convenient access for the harvesting and transplanting of human organs. A recent highly publicized case showed how the system works efficiently.

– Visiting physicians, job candidates, and other specialists fly into Sawyer for hospital visits in Marquette County.

– Special care patients in need fly to Sawyer for treatment at area hospitals, or to fly to larger hospitals and clinics.

– Vital supplies and devices arrive via the airport.

– Locally made, world-famous devices are shipped to end users, to save lives elsewhere.

Marquette General Hospital, as a regional medical center for the Upper Peninsula, has worked with the airport to improve quality health care in its service area. Bell Hospital in Ishpeming also has numerous contacts with Sawyer.

Airport management can be reached at 346-3308, or at

100 Years In

The Air

Marquette’s aviation history began over 100 years ago with an exciting flight at the 1912 county fair, only nine years after the Wright Brothers first flew.

The first official county air field opened in Negaunee Township in 1937. North Central Airlines began service there in 1948 but moved to Sawyer location north of Gwinn in 1949 until the new K.I. Sawyer Air Force base sent North Central back to Negaunee in 1957.

For two years (1955 to 1957) both North Central and Air Force flights shared the long runway at Sawyer.

Before closure of the air base in 1994, it was the U.P.’s largest employer with 4,600 jobs.

Commercial flights returned to Sawyer in 1999. It’s now the U.P.’s busiest airport, served by American and Delta, and is economic force with 70 businesses and over 1,000 workers.



because it can save big money!

A study of fares to 111 domestic and foreign cities from Sawyer and two nearby airports over a six-day period in January showed that Sawyer fares were lower than one of them on 88 flights and lower than the other on 73 flights.

Combined results had Sawyer beating the other two on 75 percent of the fares. The study is and click on Press Releases.

Too often, the savings flying from elsewhere are erased by driving costs and time wasted gripping a wheel.

Here’s how to save with a computer, smart phone, or calling the airline:

– Change the departure time or date.

– Change the return time or date.

– Alter routes via another hub (only Sawyer has two major hubs).

A few minutes of research can save hundreds of dollars.

Booking a flight is like buying a car: check local dealers first! The more time saved by ‘flying from nearby,’ the more time is spent at your destination. If you fly from a far-off airport to save money, you still have a long drive back.


Sawyer airport has:

– Michigan’s longest runway

– U.P.’s only control tower

– Most airline seats

– All passenger boarding bridges

– Twice hosted Air Force One

EDITOR’S NOTE: This feature is part of a paid advertising package. Businesses interested in being featured on the In Business page may call Larry Doyle at 228-2500, extension 258.