Manistee’s airline changes name to North Country Sky

Change to enhance airport marketing efforts

Manistee County Blacker Airport (file photo)

Manistee County Blacker Airport (file photo)

MANISTEE — The commercial air service provider at the Manistee County Blacker Airport has selected a new name, which will be launched in a new marketing campaign through the airport.

The company has changed its name to Regional Sky, and there will be sub-brands for different parts of the country where it operates. In Manistee, and other northeast region airports, it will be known as North Country Sky.

“(All marketing) we planned needs to be thrown out, and we need to start over,” said Barry Lind, airport director.

Officials at the airport have been pushing the provider, formerly Public Charters, to change its name since it began flying out of Manistee about three years ago, Lind said.

During that time, and slightly beforehand when Great Lakes provided commercial service, marketing dollars have gone to promote FLYmanistee, the airport’s website.

The final push from airport officials to change the name came in the wake of the new four-year Alternative Essential Air Service, which allows flights to continue to airports north of Manistee with a stop at the local airport before the final destination.

“Out of necessity, we’ve focused on the airport website,” Lind said.

The name Public Charters is confusing for people who are looking for an airline ticket, he said, so it was not used in marketing efforts. But focusing on FLYmanistee doesn’t make sense when servicing other areas.

Continuing flights north will help the airport achieve 10,000 departing passengers — anyone who leaves Manistee County Blacker Airport on a plane is an outgoing passenger — per year, which is needed to increase the airport’s capital improvement appropriation from the federal government from $150,000 a year to $1 million a year.

“With $1 million, we can pretty much do everything we want to get done,” Lind said in a previous interview. “Ten thousand is the magic number. Right now we’re competing for money to get things done.”

During 2014, there were 3,890 enplanements. Lind estimates it will take four years to get to 10,000.

The new marketing, which hasn’t been nailed down yet, will include both FLYmanistee and North Country Sky.

“It’s an exciting change,” said Paul Schulert, Manistee Blacker Airport Authority chair.

The change was announced at Monday’s authority meeting.

During the meeting, the board also elected new officers: Schulert, chair; Brook Shafter, vice chair; Russ Pomeroy, treasurer; and Rachel Nelson, secretary.

The meeting calendar for 2015 was set as well. They will be held at 10 a.m. on the third Monday of each month, except the February meeting, which will be held on at 10 a.m. on Feb. 9.

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Posted by Justine McGuire

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