Fewer Flights Serving Regional Airports In Wisconsin

While Passenger Numbers Have Stayed Consistent, Some Airports See Decline In Scheduled Flights

Tony Dejak/AP Photo

Some regional airports in Wisconsin are seeing a decline in the number of flights serving their communities.

Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee has seen a 47 percent decline in the number of scheduled flights. In 2010, CWA had more than 5,399 scheduled flights. Last year, the airport had less than 2,870 flights scheduled.

While cost has a lot to do with airline schedules, some regional airports are worried there aren’t enough pilots to serve their communities.

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CWA Director Brian Grefe said changes to federal requirements for commercial pilots has lead to fewer people entering the profession.

“The amount of training it takes to become a pilot, to get a good job with an airline is significant, and there’s much more burdens getting into that industry than there was in the past,” Grefe said.

Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire has also seen a decline in the number of flights serving their airport. Currently, they have two scheduled flights to Chicago every day.

Prior to 2010, we had as many as six flights per day,” Charity Zich, the airport director, said. “However, those flights per day were with a smaller aircraft than currently serves the airport. So the number of seats aren’t down so much as the number of flights.”

Even with less flight options, Zich said passenger traffic at the airport has been fairly consistent over the last 10 years.