New Lansing to D.C. Flights Promise Economic Growth in Michigan

Michigan’s Capital City will soon be flying higher than ever. Starting July 5, American Airlines will provide direct service from the Lansing Region International Airport to Washington D.C.’s Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Federal Aviation Administration to bring back a round-trip flight between Lansing and D.C. was announced at a press conference on Monday, April 18.

Chris Holman, Chairman of the Board of the Capital Region International Airport, spoke on the new route’s necessity.

“This community has long needed the service from Lansing to Ronald Reagan National Airport restored,” Holman said. “We support the flight, we have supported it in the past and we will support it in the future.”

The service, directed toward business travelers, will connect many businessmen and women from the local area to our nation’s capital far more conveniently and efficiently than previous routes.

Sun Country Airlines provided a Lansing to D.C. flight until October 2015, but travel arrangements included an overnight stay in the nation’s capital. The new American Airlines option will depart around 6:30 a.m.; get travelers on the ground in D.C. around 8 a.m.; and depart after the typical nine to five work day, getting them back to Lansing around 7 p.m.

Trillion Aviation Inc. studies projected a $1.3 million deficit for 2017, had the American Airlines route not been added to the Lansing-based airport. The same research also showed that the airport is expected to generate $16 million in economic impact annually – solely from the new D.C. route. The route was highly coveted and many other airports throughout the country put in bids to airlines proposing the new route to D.C.

After 1,200 letters of support were collected showing a relevant need and benefit for the greater Lansing area and mid-Michigan, the Capital Region International Airport received the good news.

David Gregory, a partner at Kelley Cawthorne, a lobbying firm headquartered in Lansing, spoke about the area’s support for the highly-demanded service.

“It’s great grassroots lobbying,” Gregory said. “The demand is here and it needs to be served. I think it’s vital,” he said. “We all have a lot of business in our nation’s capital and I think it’s essential to be a world-class capital.”

Linking the state capital to the nation’s capital will prove an asset to local trade associations, government, lobbyists, Michigan State University students, staff and the leisurely traveler.

“State capitols are often criticized for being backwaters,” Gregory said, referring to the areas as being isolated.

“We’re not a Denver, or Atlanta (the largest cities in the state) we are a medium size city – but to try to match the Columbuses and Madisons of the world, we really need
this connection.”

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Aside from obvious conveniences and efficiencies the route will provide to outbound travelers, the new service will also benefit tourism within the state.

Greater Lansing Convention and Visitor’s Bureau President Jack Schripsema spoke about the local impact.

“The new service from our nation’s capital makes our region more accessible to visitors,” said Schripsema. “And will strengthen our efforts to grow leisure and grow demand for the greater Lansing area.”

Holman spoke on the forecasted success of the route.

“It is an economic boom for not only the general flyer, but certainly for the business community and the political community of mid-Michigan,” he said. “This flight won’t have any choice but to be successful.”

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Sarah Spohn

Sarah Spohn

Sarah Spohn received her degree in Journalism from Lansing Community College. She’s a concert junkie; living and breathing in both the local and national music scene. She is proud to call Lansing her home, finding a new reason every day to be smitten with the mitten.

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