News Releases

2013/2014 News Releases

Mitchell Airport Passenger Count Increases in December;
Extends Streak to More Than Six Years as Low-Fare Leader

MILWAUKEE (March 7, 2014) - Milwaukee County General Mitchell International Airport's (MKE) passenger numbers rose 3.5 percent in December 2013. In addition, MKE continues its impressive streak of more than six years as a low-fare leader. MKE's average fare is lower than that of 74 of the other Top 100 U.S. airports, including Chicago O'Hare and the nation's average.

"It's great to see an increase in the December numbers, after big swings in passenger counts over the past few years," said County Executive Chris Abele.

Mergers and consolidations of major airlines have created substantial changes at many U.S. airports since 2010. Despite significant service cuts from Frontier Airlines, MKE still served more than 6.5 million passengers in 2013, a 13 percent decline from 2012.

Airport Director Barry Bateman said, "Southwest Airlines has greatly ramped up its presence at MKE, flying nonstop to many of the cities that were served by Frontier/Midwest and AirTran. I hope everyone has seen our campaign educating travelers that they MUST go directly to the airline websites, not Orbitz, Expedia or Travelocity, to book travel to ALL of the 36 cities served nonstop from Milwaukee. Mitchellairport.com is an excellent website to see the nonstop cities and the airlines that fly there."

MKE is the only airport in Wisconsin or Illinois with service from all of the major domestic airlines.

MKE's route map features nonstop service to 36 destinations coast-to-coast. Southwest/AirTran is the largest carrier at Mitchell Airport, and Southwest's flights can only be found at Southwest.com. MKE is also served by Delta, United, American/US Airways, Frontier, and Air Canada. International charter service is available via Funjet Vacations and Apple Vacations to six destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

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General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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GROUND TRANSPORTATION CHANGES AT MITCHELL AIRPORT

Taxis and Shared Ride Vans are temporarily relocated during construction project

MILWAUKEE (February 27, 2014) - Travelers using General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee should be aware that a number of ground transportation passenger pick-up areas are being temporarily relocated due to the Airport's Baggage Claim renovation project.

The following changes will go into effect beginning Monday, March 3, 2014:

The following relocations occurred earlier in the project, and remain in place:

Drivers picking up passengers should use the Hourly section of the Parking garage, or the Surface Lot, and meet arriving passengers in the main terminal. The first hour of parking is free.

More details on the new locations can be found at http://www.mitchellairport.com/ground-transportation/. Additional changes are expected in the coming weeks, so drivers are encouraged to stay in touch with Mitchell Airport on Facebook and Twitter.

The Baggage Claim renovation project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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MITCHELL AIRPORT UNVEILS NEW CHILDREN'S PLAY AREAS

Ticketed passengers can access upgraded play areas on all three concourses

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (February 21, 2014) - General Mitchell International Airport recently completed an exciting upgrade of all three of its Children's Play Areas. Featuring colorful, new padded flooring and play equipment, the play areas are a great option for families who have some extra time to spend in the terminal before boarding their flights.

They feature a variety of small slides, tunnels and airplanes that are soft and safe for children of all ages. There are also interactive games and activity centers to capture the attention of children. The Concourse D Children's Play Area features "watch towers" that allow children to look out windows and see real aircraft taxiing across the airfield.

"These enhanced play areas will help make traveling with little ones less stressful, continuing our tradition of providing a better experience for passengers of all ages," Airport Director Barry Bateman added. With nonstop service to 36 destinations across North America, Mitchell Airport's unique amenities have made it a favorite for travelers from both Wisconsin and Illinois.

The Children's Play Areas, which are open to ticketed passengers at all times, are located beyond the security checkpoints of all three Airport concourses.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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MITCHELL AIRPORT EXTENDS FREE PARKING FOR PASSENGER PICKUPS

One hour grace period will help drivers avoid construction on Baggage Claim roadway

MILWAUKEE (February 17, 2014) - General Mitchell International Airport announced today that the free parking grace period in the Hourly and Surface lots will be extended from 30 minutes to one hour for the duration of the Airport's Baggage Claim renovation project.

By extending free parking to a full hour, drivers picking up passengers will have more time to park in the Hourly section of the parking garage or surface lot and meet their parties in the main terminal. This will help drivers avoid circling the airport and dealing with construction traffic.

In September, Mitchell Airport began a complete renovation of its Baggage Claim building. Construction activity has restricted lanes and limited curb space along the Baggage Claim roadway, resulting in traffic backups during peak travel periods.

As the construction project moves into its second phase, the extended free parking in the Hourly garage and Surface lot will help reduce the burden on the busy Baggage Claim roadway. The Daily section of the parking garage and the Supersaver lots are seldom used for passenger pickup and do not offer a free parking grace period.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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GENERAL MITCHELL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ENERGIZES ITS PASSENGERS

Airport Installing 60 Free-To-Use Charging Stations For Personal Electronics

MILWAUKEE (November 19, 2013) - Passengers flying in and out of Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) will now find it easier and more convenient than ever thanks to 60 new, free-to-use charging stations throughout the airport.

Located conveniently in between gate-area seating, each charging station provides passengers with access to six outlets and two USB ports for easy charging of cell phones, laptops, tablets and other personal electronics. The stations stand 6'2" tall and are lit to make them easy to find.

We pride ourselves here at MKE in providing a friendly, comfortable travel environment, and listening and reacting to the needs of our passengers, explained Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. Our new charging stations provide a convenient way for both leisure and business travelers to stay plugged in, and will continue to improve the already great customer experience.

The new charging stations have been installed on the D Concourse, and the remaining concourses will be completed within the next few weeks.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation

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MITCHELL AIRPORT EXTENDS STREAK AS LOW-FARE LEADER
Second Quarter 2013 average fares remain lower than O'Hare and national average

MILWAUKEE (November 12, 2013) - Air fares at Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport remain a bargain compared to the nation's average fares and those of Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

"According to newly-released DOT statistics for the second quarter of 2013, average air fares in Milwaukee are $26 below the national average and $37 less than O'Hare. There are good deals to be had at Mitchell," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said. Our average fares have been lower than O'Hare's for six years now."

Mitchell Airport, also known as MKE, is the only airport in Wisconsin or Illinois with service from all of the major domestic carriers. Mitchell's lower fares, combined with its ease of use and lower parking costs, continue to draw passengers from throughout northern Illinois.

MKE's route map features nonstop service to 36 destinations coast-to-coast, including Boston, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Southwest is the largest carrier at Mitchell Airport, and its flights can only be found at Southwest.com. MKE is also served by Delta, United, US Airways, American, AirTran, Frontier, and Air Canada. International charter service is available via Funjet Vacations and Apple Vacations to six destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

"Mitchell Airport has a wide variety of nonstop flights to business and vacation destinations coast-to-coast, and I encourage travelers to take advantage of our low fares and easy travel experience," Airport Director Barry Bateman added.

Mitchell Airport has nonstop service to 36 destinations.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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MITCHELL AIRPORT'S RUNWAY SAFETY AREA PROJECT SCORES TRIPLE PLAY
Three awards recognize outstanding team effort during multi-year construction project

MILWAUKEE (May 13, 2013) - Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport (GMIA) has received three awards for its recently completed Runway Safety Area project:

* The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Great Lakes Regional Airports Division, presented its 2012 Airport Planning, Environmental, and Financial Excellence Award to GMIA at the Wisconsin Aviation Conference on April 30.

* GMIA Civil Engineer Jim Zsebe received the Engineer of the Year award from the Wisconsin Airport Management Association at the Wisconsin Aviation Conference, in recognition for his team's involvement in the RSA project.

* The American Public Works Association, Wisconsin Chapter, Project of the Year Award was presented to GMIA on May 9, 2013.

"These awards are a testament to the outstanding professionalism, perseverance and commitment to safety displayed by Airport staff and contractors throughout the construction process," Airport Director Barry Bateman said. "We are proud that all of our runways are fully RSA compliant, and that the project was completed ahead of schedule."

The Runway Safety Area is a 500-foot wide, 1,000-foot long obstruction-free safety zone at the end of each runway. GMIA's RSA project was more complex due to the need to keep flights operating on schedule throughout the construction period, and the proximity of nearby railroad tracks and city streets. A bridge over College Avenue was also required to make the runway RSA compliant.

"The project team encountered several unexpected challenges that were unrelated to, yet impacted the RSA's project completion," FAA Regional Administrator Barry Cooper said while presenting the FAA award. "The success of managing multiple construction projects can be attributed to the close coordination and information sharing between the airport, the FAA, and all the various stakeholders involved."

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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MITCHELL AIRPORT CONTINUES AS LOW-FARE LEADER AS AIRLINE INDUSTRY EVOLVES
Airport reports 2012 results, average fares lower than O'Hare for five years running

MILWAUKEE, Wis. January 31, 2013 - Air fares at Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport remained a bargain in 2012 compared to the nation's average fares and those of Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

"According to newly-released DOT statistics for the third quarter of 2012, average air fares in Milwaukee are $50 below the national average and $62 less than O'Hare. There are great deals to be had at Mitchell," Airport Director Barry Bateman said. "Our average fares have been lower than O'Hare's for 21 consecutive quarters now."

The competitive environment evolved significantly at airports throughout the U.S. in 2012, as airlines merged, there were more passengers on fewer flights, fuel prices rose, and regional flying was reduced.

In 2012, 7,515,070 passengers used Mitchell International, down 21% from the previous year's total of 9,522,456. In 2010 and 2011, intense competition between two hubbing airlines, AirTran and Frontier, plus Southwest led to record passenger growth and pushed fares down to unsustainable levels. The drop in passengers in 2012 directly resulted from Frontier's decision to close its Milwaukee hub due to competitive pressures and the rising cost of fuel. At the same time, AirTran's successful Milwaukee hub was acquired by Southwest.

"2012 was a year of transition for Mitchell Airport, as we morphed from a hub for two airlines, with two million transfer passengers per year, into an airport that largely serves passengers whose trips are starting or ending in Milwaukee," Bateman said. "As a result of Frontier's hub closure, the number of transfer passengers fell by 50 percent, while passengers whose origin or destination was Milwaukee decreased by 13 percent."

The nation's airlines are currently in a period of dramatic consolidation. Just ten years ago, eight airlines controlled 90 percent of the U.S. airline market. Today, just five airlines control 85% of the market, and Mitchell is served by seven airlines carrying 87% of the nation's passenger traffic.

Meanwhile, Mitchell's lower fares, combined with its ease of use and lower parking costs, have contributed to a 42% increase in northern Illinois passengers over the last five years, based on a review of license plates using the airport's parking facilities.

So far in 2013, Southwest launched new nonstop service to New Orleans while Delta announced new nonstop flights to Orlando and launched its winter flights to Cancun. AirTran is also operating international charter service via Apple Vacations and Funjet Vacations to six destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

"Mitchell Airport has a wide variety of nonstop flights to business and vacation destinations coast-to-coast, and I encourage travelers to take advantage of our low fares and easy travel experience," Bateman added.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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WARM UP WITH FLIGHTS FROM MITCHELL INTERNATIONAL TO MEXICO AND THE CARIBBEAN

It's cold out there, and Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport is helping travelers escape winter by offering non-stop flights to six destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

AirTran, Delta, and Frontier, along with Apple Vacations and Funjet Vacations, offer as many as six non-stop flights to Cancun/Riviera Maya each Saturday during the peak winter season.  Non-stop charter service to Cozumel, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Jamaica, Puerto Vallarta, and Punta Cana are also available.

"There's a chill in the air, but warm weather destinations are just a short flight away," Airport Marketing and Public Relations Director Pat Rowe said.  "Whether it's a quick getaway or an extended vacation, Mitchell International has a number of exciting vacation options for travelers this winter."

Cancun/Riviera Maya

Airtran Airways, Apple Vacations, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Funjet Vacations

Cozumel

Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations (both operated by AirTran Airways)

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo

Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations (both operated by AirTran Airways)

Jamaica

Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations (both operated by AirTran Airways)

Puerto Vallarta

Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations (both operated by AirTran Airways)

Punta Cana

Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations (both operated by AirTran Airways)

The destinations listed above are available at www.applevacations.com, www.funjet.com or through your local travel agent.  Cancun flights may also be booked by visiting www.airtran.com, www.delta.com, or www.flyfrontier.com.

Mitchell also offers daily non-stop flights to other warm weather cities, including Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, as well as connections to hundreds of destinations across the nation and throughout the world. Sign up for fare alerts and find flights to warm weather at www.mitchellairport.com.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport's capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.

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