It’s only a first step, but the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport just got some tools to attract another service option for travelers.  The airport is has received a $1,000,000 Small Community Air Service Development (SCASD) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Craig Williams, Airport Director said the grant “supports our continued efforts to bring more air service to the community and improve connectivity for our passengers.   Air service development is economic development, which supports the Airport’s mission to complement economic growth in Southwest Michigan.”

The SCASD grant will be used as a revenue guarantee and marketing to recruit and support new air service to attract an air carrier for new nonstop service to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Williams said Charlotte is a very busy airport and a very large hub for American Airlines. He said American Airlines offered a letter of support in the grant application.  “That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll serve, but they’re willing to consider it as a possibility for the Kalamazoo market.  A million dollars to help persuade them isn’t going to hurt.”

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Williams said Charlotte is a great hub to connect to Florida and the southeast, and the mid-Atlantic and the Caribbean. “If we’re successful, this could be a great thing for travelers in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and all of us in Southwest Michigan.”

Currently, the Kalamazoo airport has three carriers.  American Airlines and United Airlines both service Chicago.  Delta Airlines services Detroit and Minneapolis.

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“Our local airports are real assets to our communities in Southwest Michigan and this grant will certainly help expand passenger service, said Congressman Fred Upton. “I will continue to be a strong advocate for the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport and help support their consistent efforts to connect Kalamazoo to the world.”

The Airport worked cooperatively with several community partners to establish public-private support of the grant application. These partnerships showcase the local support to grow air service options in Kalamazoo. Community partners include Southwest Michigan First, Discover Kalamazoo, Battle Creek Unlimited, and The Kellogg Company.

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