detroit metro airport

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's a bad day to be flying from any of Michigan’s major airports through Chicago.

An incident at an air traffic control tower in Illinois is causing hundreds of flight cancelations.

Police say the fire at the suburban Chicago air traffic control facility was intentionally set by a contract employee.

J. Miguel Rodriguez / Flickr

International travelers may soon experience shorter wait times at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

New technology at the airport aims to make the U.S. customs process a little easier.

Thirty new Automated Passport Control kiosks will allow travelers to enter their information at computers, instead of filling out declaration cards.

Kris Grogan is with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He says the new system will help the agency's officers be more effective at their jobs.

Inside Detroit Metro Airport.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ROMULUS, Mich. -- The mother of an Arkansas man who caused a two-hour lockdown at Detroit Metropolitan Airport says he mistakenly re-entered a secure area after missing a flight this week to a basketball tryout.

Jennifer Smith of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, told The Associated Press on Saturday that 22-year-old Christian Smith's actions "were a complete misunderstanding."

Christian Smith was arrested Thursday night after exiting and going back into a secured side of a screening checkpoint at the airport in Romulus. The lockdown delayed flights at the McNamara Terminal.

Jennifer Smith says her 6-foot-7-inch son was cited and posted a $100 bond. She says he now is in Los Angeles where he hopes to latch on with a professional basketball team overseas.

Christian Smith played college basketball at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Wayne County Airport Authority

Humans are not the only ones in the airport who need a restroom between flights. That's why Delta Airlines and Detroit Metropolitan Airport today opened the hub's first relief area for service animals.

Nicknamed "Central Bark" by some airport staff,  the area has two grassy sections called "porch potties," with a sprinkler system to wash away waste. It even has a fake fire hydrant.

It means passengers in transit will not have to take their service dogs outside to do their business.

Courtesy photo / Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Snowy owls have been flocking to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids this winter.

“It’s unprecedented. We have three to four times the activity than we’ve ever had in the past,” said Tara Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the Ford Airport.

Airport staff had to shoot nine owls this season. That’s compared to only four in the past four years combined.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan air travelers could see some changes with the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

The merger creating the world's largest airline became official today.  But the new American Airlines has relatively few flights flying into and out of six Michigan airports.   

Michael Conway is a spokesman for Detroit Metro Airport.  He says the newly merged airline carries only about 6.6% of passengers flying out of Detroit.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) - Operators of Detroit Metropolitan Airport have taken a small first step toward ending its status as one of the nation's worst major airports for passengers to reach or leave.

The Wayne County Airport Authority says it's issuing a request for information soon on possible providers of a shuttle service between the Romulus airfield and downtown Detroit.

Michigan Flyer

A private bus service will get a federal grant, despite the objections of Lansing’s Capitol Region International Airport.

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission last night approved a $595,000 federal grant to the Michigan Flyer. The Flyer currently operates 8 daily round trips from Lansing to Ann Arbor to Metro Airport. The grant will allow its buses to run four more round trips each day.   

Airport officials fear the added bus service will siphon off potential air passengers from Lansing.

DETROIT (AP) - Charges have been dismissed against a Saudi man arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after a pressure cooker was found in his bag.

Hussain Al Khawahir was arrested May 11th and charged with giving false statements to federal agents and possessing an altered passport. Authorities said he lied about why he was traveling with the pressure cooker.

The U.S. Attorney's Office told the Detroit Free Press in a statement Friday that Hussain Al Khawahir "will go immediately into the custody of U.S. Customs and Border protection for removal" from the U.S.

Michigan Flyer facebook page

A federal grant to expand bus service between Lansing and Detroit Metro Airport is stalled.

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission split nine to nine on authorizing a $600,000 grant to help the Michigan Flyer expand its daily trips from eight to twelve.    The commissioner with the potential tie-breaking vote did not attend Wednesday night’s meeting.

State and federal transportation agencies have already approved the grant, which would essentially help offset the costs for the first few months of the added service between East Lansing and Ann Arbor.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Buena Vista could hold summer camps for students

There could be a solution for the students in Saginaw County’s Buena Vista district to finish out the school year.  A plan to use federal funds to run voluntary “skills camps” that focus on reading, math, and writing will be presented this evening to the local school board.

"The Buena Vista superintendent says it’s a creative solution that would allow students to finish out the school year," Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports.

Man with pressure cooker arrested at Detroit Metro Airport

On Saturday Hussain al Khawahir was taken into custody at the Detroit Metro Airport. He tried to enter the US from Saudi Arabia with an altered passport, and lied to security officers about why he was carrying a pressure cooker. Al Khawahir will have a bond hearing this afternoon, reports Michigan Radio's Kate Wells.

Detroit Mayor to make announcement about future

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has scheduled an announcement for today at noon. Bing's spokesman Bob Warfield said that Bing would "make a major announcement about his political future." Today is the deadline to file for a second 4-year term as mayor, the Associated Press reports.

Taxiing Southwest planes touch wings in Detroit

Mar 16, 2013
swamedia.com

Two Southwest Airlines planes struck each other while leaving adjacent gates at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz says no one was hurt when the planes' winglets collided Saturday morning.

Both jets returned to their gates, and all passengers and crew got off.

user ka_tate / Flickr

As the Obama Administration began making its case against 'the sequester' - the mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts that were never supposed to happen - delays at airports was one of the big issues they highlighted.

Here's Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at a press conference on Feb. 22, where he said more than $600 million will have to come out of the Federal Aviation Administration budget.

So what will this mean at Detroit Metro?

LaHood said the majority of FAA employees will be furloughed for one to two days per pay period.

Michael Martinez writes for the Detroit News that airport officials don't expect cuts this month, but they do expect them next month:

user ka_tate / Flickr

The snowstorm moving through the upper Midwest is affecting flights out of Detroit Metro.

The Detroit Free Press reports that flights flying between Detroit Metro and several Iowa and Wisconsin destinations have been canceled.

Flights to and from Chicago O'Hare airport were running an average of 1 hour 52 minutes late this morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Chicago Midway was also experiencing delays. Delays were caused by wind ahead of the storm. Delta Flight 1257 from O'Hare to Detroit was canceled, but other flights between Detroit and Chicago were still on the schedule.

Cecelia Cichan shows a tattoo of an airplane she has on her wrist. She speaks about being the sole survivor of the crash of NW flight 255 out of Detroit in a documentary. WDIV aired clips of that documentary.
screen shot / WDIV

At 4 years old, she was the sole survivor of one of the worst aviation disasters in U.S. history.

On August 16, 1987, one hundred and fifty-six people were killed when Northwest Flight 255 out of Detroit Metro Airport did not put out its wing flaps and slats, which resulted in dangerously low altitude on takeoff.

The plane clipped a light pole, then a building, and crashed to the ground at about 8:46 p.m. killing all of the crew and passengers except for 4-year-old Cecelia Cichan from Tempe, Arizona.

Travel and Leisure magazine

You gotta give them a lot of clicks to find the ranking on their page (can someone say pageviews!), but once you finally get there, you'll see that readers of Travel and Leisure ranked Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) as the 3rd best airport in the country.

Detroit’s airport is at the top of its game, ranked No. 1 in terminal cleanliness, design, location, lounges, and business centers. It came in third for service and staff communication and fourth in baggage handling. As Delta’s second largest hub and the carrier’s primary gateway for Asia, that’s no mean feat. The airport fell short only when it came to public transportation options—not surprising considering you’ve landed in the Motor City.

Viable public transport to Detroit Metro has always been a problem. Some are making attempts to improve the situation.

Just recently, the public transportation system in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, announced a partnership with a private company, Michigan Flyer, to provide cheaper transit to the airport.

Twelve bucks will get you from A2 to DTW. That's better than a typical $40 to $50 cab ride.

The best airport named by readers was Minneapolis (MSP)... the worst was New York's LaGuardia (LGA) - JFK and Newark airports also ranked poorly.

Sound about right to you?

There’s a new public transit option for those who want to travel between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport.

It's called AirRide, and it hits the road Monday.

The AirRide bus is not your average mass transit ride. For starters, there’s wi-fi, outlets for your laptop, and a bathroom. Apparently the seats are comfortable, too. So comfy that Ann Arbor Transportation Authority's David Nacht describes them as "more comfortable than three out of the four chairs" in his living room.

Metro Airport

The severance scandal surrounding the now-fired CEO of Detroit Metro Airport, Turkia Mullin, has apparently claimed a member of the airport board.

Wayne County Airport Authority chair Renee Axt resigned Monday. She issued the following statement:

The Wayne County Airport Authority has fired Metro Airport CEO Turkia Mullin.

Mullin had a short, controversial tenure. It was marred almost from the get-go by the revelation that she got a $200,000 severance payout to voluntarily leave her prior post as Wayne County economic development director.

The Wayne County Airport Authority has fired Metro Airport CEO Turkia Mullin.

Mullin had a short, controversial tenure. It was marred almost from the get-go by the revelation that she got a $200,000 severance payout to voluntarily leave her prior post as Wayne County economic development director.

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