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Michigan’s fourth-busiest airport changes owners

Traverse City
Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City has a new ownership structure.

Some local residents questioned the need for the change at public meetings while the airport authority pursued the new ownership structure, the Traverse City Record Eagle reported. Klein said the airport authority does not draw on local taxes and will be responsive to the needs of the local community.

Michigan’s fourth-busiest airport is under new ownership. Cherry Capital Airport is no longer jointly owned by Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.

The airport is now under the control of an authority that’s not part of either county -- although most of the members of the airport authority’s board still have to come from either Grand Traverse or Leelanau County.

Kevin Kleinis the CEO of the new Northwest Regional Airport Authority. He said the structure lets the airport offer longer leases to airlines and other tenants.

“What that does is reduce the cost to those operating here at the airport, so that then translates to what a lot of passengers will see, when the cost of the airlines are lower, that reduce -- turns into reduced costs in airfare,” said Klein.

Round-trip airfares from Cherry Capital have already fallen about 20% over the last few months as airlines anticipated the change, Klein said.

He said other changes will be invisible to passengers but will help the airport negotiate favorable leases with other businesses on its property.

“Prior to this change, Cherry Capital Airport had zoning that was controlled by multiple different surrounding agencies,” Klein said. “Now, that will all be located in one stop at the airport, and so that will also make our business dealings a lot easier.”

Brett joined WCMU in February, 2021, as a general assignment reporter. He was previously the health reporter at WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y., and has filed stories for National Public Radio, IEEE Spectrum, The Village Voice and other outlets.