After a court order in January threatened to halt direct service from Michigan's capital to the nation's capital, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin announced today that the Lansing area and the State of Michigan will continue to benefit from direct flights to Washington D.C., as the U.S. Department of transportation has approved Sun Country Airlines' application for new slots to operate a direct flight between the two cities.
"This direct flight provides a major economic boost to Mid-Michigan and the entire state," said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. "The direct Sun Country flight provides better access for businesses to the nation's capital and supports Port Lansing's international facilities, which help businesses increase exports and sell more products. It was very important that Lansing be able to secure this direct route, and critical that we keep it."
"The Lansing region is a critical hub for business and government, many of whom require transportation to the nation's capital for their day-to-day business," said U.S. Senator Carl Levin. "Sun Country's direct flight from Lansing to DC makes it easier for them to conduct business --- which, in turn, helps business to grow. When we heard that this flight was threatened, we fought to allow Sun Country to continue this flight, and it's great news that our efforts were successful."
"This route is important for the Lansing area and Michigan's economic development, and we are very excited this important service can continue," said Robert Selig, Executive Director of Capital Region Airport Authority. "We had tremendous support from residents and business leaders throughout the state of Michigan to help make this happen. We are especially thankful to Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin for all of their work on this, both in originally securing this direct route and now helping to ensure it continues."
In December of 2010, Senators Stabenow and Levin, leaders in the effort to help Lansing secure this new direct flight route, announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation had approved Sun Country Airlines' application for an available slot to fly direct to and from Lansing's Capital Region International Airport and Washington D.C.'s Ronald Reagan National Airport. Sun Country began running direct flights between the two cities last April.
In January, an appeals court found in favor of another airline that was trying to claim Sun Country's slot, putting the direct Lansing-Washington route in jeopardy. However, today's determination by the Department of Transportation means the route is safe and will be maintained.
Along with their leadership in securing this direct flight, Sens. Stabenow and Levin were also instrumental in the creation LAN's "Port Lansing," mid-Michigan's only U.S. Port of Entry that allows for goods and passengers to clear customs, allowing local businesses to export their products overseas and create jobs.