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Business & Economics

Rhinelander-Oneida County focused on upgrades after another successful summer

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Matthew Leitner

The last United Flight to Chicago O’Hare for the summer took off from Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport on September 30th.

It was the first time in 20 years the airport had flights to Chicago.

Airport Director Matthew Leitner called the flights a “resounding success”.

He says there’s no guarantee the flights will return next year, but he’s hopeful.

“The only certainty in the airline industry, or really anywhere right now, is uncertainty. It’s hard to predict what next summer’s going to look like, if they’re going to expand the schedule, do it again, etc. etc.,” said Leitner. “But as far as the airport is concerned, we did a really good job proving that it was a very viable, successful, profitable market for United.”

On top of the new flights to Chicago, Delta expanded its flights to and from Minneapolis in the last year.

It’s been a direct result of the increased traffic the airport has seen in recent years.

It also makes the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport a bit of an outlier in the industry.

“If you look at enplanements and deplanements for the months of June, July and August about 25,000 people passed through here. With the eight commercial services airports in Wisconsin, we were the first to show growth over 2019 in July. Many airports are still in the recession so to speak, but we’ve actually surpassed where we were at various points in 2019,” said Leitner.

Leitner says the airport is continuing to see people coming in from different parts of the country compared to years past.

He says more people flying in from the southeastern portion of the U.S. has been one of the biggest changes.

After another successful summer, the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport is busy to a major project.

It’s currently updating its parking payment system.

“We’re going to have an automated parking revenue control system which is a nice way of saying that you can use a credit card to pay for you parking now. Gone mostly now will be the yellow envelopes,” said Leitner. “We’ll have the gates much like any other commercial service airport where you pull up, you use credit card or we’ll have apps, electronic forms of payment, and we’ll also have a station inside the airport where you can use cash.”

The first four hours of parking are free, otherwise it’s seven dollars a night.

The system should be up and running by the end of the month.

Money for the updates comes from the Airport and CARES Act funds.

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