Backers kick off grassroots campaign to win federal approval of American Airlines bid to ‘Fly Lansing’

Lansing ­– Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and the Greater Lansing region’s government, business and civic leaders today kicked off a campaign that urges area residents to publicly endorse American Airlines’ plan to add new and expanded service from Capital Region International Airport.

Bernero, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tim Daman and Chris Holman, chair of the Capital Airport Authority Board, announced their support of American’s application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to offer nonstop daily service from Lansing to Washington, D.C., in 2015 as well as Chicago in 2016.

American’s application for federal approval, if successful, would allow the world’s largest airline to continue the Lansing-Washington, D.C., route now serviced by Sun Country Airlines, which has announced it is leaving Capital Region International Airport effective October 1, 2015.

“A big part of what makes Lansing great is being the home of a great regional airport,” Bernero said. “We are launching a unified grassroots effort to bring American Airlines to Capital Region International Airport. We’re asking everybody – from our area’s elected leaders to ordinary citizens – to do their part.”

The mayor and Holman agreed that an endorsement of American Airlines’ proposal is “a no-brainer” and directed supporters of the plan to learn more about how to make their voice heard by visiting FlyLansing.com/SupportAmerican.

“We need to tell the FAA and DOT that approval of American’s application is critical,” Holman said. “It’s critical to our region’s economic future. It’s critical to mid-Michigan’s business and leisure travelers. And it’s critical to the future of Lansing’s airport.”

If approved, American intends to commence daily, nonstop service between Lansing and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on November 5, 2015. The proposal also calls for American to offer three daily flights from Capital Region International Airport to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) beginning in early 2016.

Both the Ronald Reagan (DCA) and O’Hare (ORD) airports are key American hubs. The Washington, D.C., hub, for example, would provide mid-Michigan travelers with direct connections to more than 30 destinations across the United States served by American, such as Nashville, New Orleans and Buffalo. American’s Chicago service would provide connections to 115 destinations in 11 countries.

Nearly 400 Lansing-area businesses and residents have already expressed their support to the FAA and DOT through the FlyLansing.com/SupportAmerican site.

“The mid-Michigan region’s leadership, hard work and support for our plan so far is incredible and invaluable,” said Howard Kass, American’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and a Michigan State University graduate who is helping drive American’s efforts to provide business and leisure travelers with more opportunities to fly from Lansing.

“But we need more people to get talking and get engaged,” Kass added. “As a proud graduate of Michigan State University, I know this region has the Spartan will and determination to succeed.”

Businesses and workers in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties can contact federal authorities to support American’s plan via letters, phone calls, emails and social media by visiting FlyLansing.com/SupportAmerican. The deadline for public input is Friday, September 4, 2015. The flight from Lansing to Washington, D.C., is the second-most frequently booked route at Capital Region International Airport, Daman noted.

“A strong and vital Lansing requires a strong and vital regional airport,” said Daman. “We are looking for the Greater Lansing business community to really step forward right now. By rallying together we can let the federal government know this region needs and will continue to support Washington, D.C., service.”

American intends to offer daily departures from Capital Region International Airport at 7:10 a.m., with arrival at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Washington (DCA) at 8:55 a.m. Returning flights will depart DCA at 5:30 p.m. and arrive at LAN at 7:20 p.m., providing mid-Michigan travelers the opportunity to travel to and from Washington, D.C., in the same day. Flights would be operated with CRJ-700 aircraft with 67 seats – nine first class and 58 main cabin.

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