Sawyer International Airport in Marquette County is celebrating its 20th year Anniversary. An event is being held at the Holiday Inn in Marquette today to discuss the growth and highlights of the airport, which officially opened in 1999.
After almost 40 years of operation, the U.S. Air Force base closed in 1994, leaving a small city containing dozens of buildings, their contents, utilities, a 12,700 foot runway, and a vast expanse of land.
“Moving the airport from the former Negaunee Township location seemed like the right opportunity for Marquette County to potentially grow its Airport flight options and to position the airport for more economic
development opportunities,” states Scott Erbisch, Marquette County’s Administrator and formerly the Director of Operations at Sawyer International Airport.
The first commercial air carrier incoming flight – Northwest 2961 from Detroit to Sawyer International Airport landed at 11:30 a.m. on September 22, 1999. Thousands of people showed up to watch the first plane land at Sawyer.
Over the years, Sawyer has hosted five U.S. presidents, many notable passengers, and some of the world’s largest aircraft. Since the first Sawyer flight in September 1999, over two million airline passengers have passed through the terminal.
The airport currently offers over 3,000 seats a week to three major hubs at Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Passenger totals have averaged 105,000 a year, with a record high of 133,681 in 2007.
Sawyer continues to be the busiest of the Upper Peninsula’s six commercial airports.