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Mackinac Island loses one of its daily charter flight services

Randy Faith

People who like to fly to Mackinac Island now have one less option. The closing of Great Lakes Air leaves the island with only one year-round flight option.

The change will have an impact on freight transportation, mainly during the winter months.

According to the Island’s newspaper, the Town Crier, Great Lakes Air ceased operations due to its struggles with Federal Aviation standards and pandemic issues like staffing.

Andrew Doud is the owner of Doud’s Market on Mackinac Island. His business relies on the flight service to get food to his market in the winter. He said the cost of flying groceries to the island is significantly higher than by boat.

"And that does not include getting it down to the grocery store from the airport is $2.70. So whatever your cost of a gallon of milk, say it was $3. That's another, just the cost is $2.70," said Doud.

The market usually stock up on supplies for winter and have a good relationship with the other charter plane service that serves the island. Doud mentioned his Grocery store has been in this situation before and has a great relationship with the other flight provider that serves the island.

"It's great to have two of anything, of course, but I think that hopefully, Fresh Air maintains fair rates. And we can continue going forward as we have," said Doud.

The biggest challenge, Doud said, is going to be maintaining fair prices for his products on top of the already high costs of running a business on the island.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.