Sawyer International Airport to drop one of two Detroit flights

This will cut Sawyer International’s schedule to two roundtrip flights per day.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:36 PM EDT
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KI SAWYER, Mich. (WLUC) - Marquette County may soon be down another commercial flight.

This comes as Sawyer International Airport looks to begin its expansion and rebranding process. Sawyer International currently has two daily round-trip flights to Detroit, as well as a roundtrip to Chicago six days per week. Starting Oct. 6, Delta Airlines will drop its early departure and late arrival flights to and from Detroit.

“The flight that they are reducing us by is the morning kickoff flight, where a lot of people depart the Marquette region, fly to Detroit and then to their destination,” Sawyer International Airport Manager Duane DuRay said. “We will also lose our evening return overnight which a lot of our passengers utilize for their return back to Marquette County.”

After these flights are removed in the fall, the afternoon roundtrip to Detroit will be the airport’s last Delta flight. DuRay said this is a low point in the airport’s 23-year history, as it has never had this few flights on the schedule

“Marquette for quite some time has been very fortunate with airlines and our flight schedule,” DuRay added. “This is genuinely a low point for us right now since we will only have two round trips scheduled per day.”

In January, Sawyer International was forced to drop its Delta services to and from Minneapolis. Duray explained why Sawyer International has lost two flights in less than a year.

“The primary reason for this reduction is related to the pilot shortage,” DuRay noted. “Delta Airlines has been struggling for quite some time. They have reduced their flight schedule across the country.”

Some may be deterred from driving to Marquette County due to high gas prices or the overall long drive. Public transit, like trains, is also not a viable option to get to most places in Upper Michigan.

With fewer flights to and from Sawyer International, InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante said that Marquette County becomes harder to visit for those who live far away. Especially those who do business here.

“I can give you an example that was shared with me already in which a significant Upper Peninsula employer had an opportunity for a new client to come in,” Fittante explained. “That client declined to come in because it turned out to be a three-day trip to the area. We cannot advance the opportunity that is in front of us without robust air service.”

Fittante and Duray said they plan to speak with Delta Airlines management to come up with a solution to the dropped flight.

Each added that the ultimate goal is to expand travel options into Upper Michigan. Especially as the airport picks up its expansion and rebranding efforts.

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