BY KATHY GIBBONS
TRAVERSE CITY - Passengers wanting a commercial flight into or out of Manistee County Blacker Airport could be out of luck come Oct. 16, at least, for a while.
Waterford, Mich.-based Aerodynamics Inc. (ADI) recently notified the U.S. Department of Transportation that it would no longer operate daily flights out of Manistee to Chicago Midway Airport and back again.
After Frontier Airlines stopped flying to Manistee this year, ADI began providing charter service between Manistee and Chicago's Midway airport May 24 as the direct air carrier for Public Charters, Inc. It offered one flight with a capacity for up to 50 passengers each way daily, and was the only commercial service available at the airport, said Barry Lind, director of the Manistee airport.
Lind said ADI gave no official reason for ceasing service. He said he heard from ADI employees based in Manistee that the company on Friday laid off a third of its workforce, numbered at 205 on the company's website. Efforts to speak with a company spokesperson have so far been unsuccessful.
Public Charters is working on identifying a replacement carrier, according to its website, which indicates that passengers holding tickets for travel originating on or after Oct. 16 will receive a full refund, according to the company. Those with round-trip tickets for travel that originates before Oct. 16 can either cancel the entire itinerary for a refund or take the outbound leg and be paid back for the return portion.
Lind said it could take from a week to a month to reinstate service with a new carrier, depending on how quickly an agreement can be reached and DOT approval secured.
"I would have to say at this point there's a likely window where for some unknown period of time our service is in jeopardy," Lind said.