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Central Wisconsin Airport hopes to attract another carrier

Central Wisconsin Airport website

The Marathon County Board of Supervisors has approved spending up to $195,000 in contingency funds to help the Central Wisconsin Airport attract new flights to vacation destinations in Florida and Arizona through Minnesota-based Sun Country Airlines.

Airport Director Brian Grefe says he's excited about the possibility of adding direct flights to some of their most popular destinations.

“The three that are identified here are southwest Florida, so you’re looking at Punta Gorda or Fort Meyers… Orlando is our number one requested destination, or Phoenix, Arizona.”

Grefe says Sun Country has found success in markets similar to what CWA serves and has given their support to the plan.

“It does indicate that they are looking at our market. It plays well with what they have done in other markets. You look at Rochester Minnesota, Duluth Minnesota. They are essentially the exact same size communities.”

Grefe says finding a way to add seats at the facility has been a priority since United discontinued their flights earlier this year due to staffing issues and other complications.

“Typically the other airlines would rise to meet that demand, both Delta and American Airlines, but for a lot of the same reasons they have not been able to meet that demand. So it left us with really a good opportunity to go after a low cost carrier.”

Grefe says attracting a low-cost carrier is their best option right now to add flights, as the big names are not currently in positions to grow.

Grefe says the funding is required due to regulations on the way airports are managed- In short money that's made by the airport has to stay with the airport and can't be used to pay an airline.

Portage county will also be contributing to the effort, as they are also owners in the facility.

There's no timeline regarding when the flights could be announced.

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