New group to keep fares low at Ford Airport


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new group is now in charge of the effort to lower fares at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

The Right Place announced a new Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan Wednesday morning.

The group will take over for a similar group that was started by Dick DeVos which is credited for bringing low-cost carriers to the airport like Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air.

During the announcement, DeVos was honored for his work with the alliance.

Brian Ryks, the executive director of Gerald R. Ford International Airport, spoke about the progress that has been made to lower airfares. He said fares are now only $9 higher than fares at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and only $24 higher than at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said fares in Grand Rapids fell 6 percent during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, while prices in Detroit and Chicago increased 4 percent.

Currently, 31 percent of the seats on flights at the airport are on low-cost carriers, but DeVos said there is still work to be done.

“We need to keep our foot down and keep growing our air service in this community to keep pace with our economic expansion and our economic needs and the needs of our community,” he said.

Additionally, there are some new changes coming to the airport. Delta is adding a fourth, non-stop flight to Atlanta, and in September, American Airlines will offer non-stop service to Charlotte and Philadelphia.

Airport management said concourse upgrades and other renovations are currently underway at the airport.

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