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Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport Terminal Updates Help with Increased Traffic, Social Distancing

Matthew Leitner

The inside of Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport looks a bit different these days.

The terminal areas both before and after the security checkpoint got an update in 2020.

There’s now more seating which Airport Director Matthew Leitner says couldn’t have come at better time.

“We have a lot of room in the new secure area. There’s seating for well over 75 people,” said Leitner. “It allows social distancing. It serves us much better than the old secure area did.”

Credit Matthew Leitner

Of course, the airport wasn’t thinking of a global pandemic when it first starting planning for these updates more than three years ago.

It was thinking of expanding flights and more traffic through the airport, which Rhinelander has seen this summer and through to this winter.

“We’re kind of an anomaly when you look at the other airports. In the upper Midwest, we’ve performed better, as far as Delta markets, than any of the other Delta Markets in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan during the pandemic,” said Leitner.

He says a lot of the people flying into Rhinelander were from places that haven’t been common in the past like the southeast and southwest US.

“People are attracted to the quality of life up here. With broadband access they can work from home and telecommute. I think the pandemic has certainly amplified that and perhaps the social tumult in the cities during 2020. So we’re seeing a lot of people come," said Leitner.

Leitner says the improvements will also help with larger schedule of Delta flights this summer.

He says the flights will be posted to Delta.com in the coming weeks, but it will mean three daily round trips during the weekdays and four on the weekends.

“With that volume of passenger traffic, the new secure area is going to serve us very well,” said Leitner.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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