Graham Kilmer

RNC Will Be Busy Time for Airport

Mitchell International Airport will have more flights and bigger planes during Republican convention.

By - Jun 10th, 2024 04:24 pm
Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Image from the airport.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Image from the airport.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport expects bigger traffic in more ways than one during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July.

The airport announced Monday that it is expecting more direct, nonstop flights and bigger planes in July

In particular, airlines are boosting nonstop flights between Milwaukee and the political and media capitals of the country: Washington D.C. and New York City.

On peak arrival days, United Airlines has scheduled eight nonstop flights from Dulles International Airport and two from Ronald Reagan National Airport, and American Airlines is adding a nonstop flight between LaGuardia International Airport and Milwaukee. The airlines are planning similar schedules for departing flights after the convention ends on July 19.

United is also adding another direct flight from Denver during the convention.

The airlines aren’t just running more flights during the RNC, they’re also flying bigger planes, according to the airport. Both United and American will fly full-size, mainline aircraft during the event. These are larger planes manufactured by companies like Boeing and Airbus and owned directly by the airlines, said Harold Mester, airport director of public affairs and marketing.

“Not only are the airlines adding flights and increasing the number of seats in and out of Milwaukee, but we’re working to increase our staffing and make improvements onsite for a better airport experience,” said Airport Director Brian Dranzik, in a statement.

The airport noted in a statement that local residents could take advantage of the extra nonstop flights and fly in the opposite direction of the convention attendees: departing when they arrive and vice versa.

The RNC is expected to bring approximately 50,000 politicos, media and Republican delegates to Milwaukee. This wave of travelers will likely boost the passenger traffic at Milwaukee Mitchell during July, which is already one of the busier travel months of the year for the airport.

Even without the coming wave of travelers during RNC, the airport is already on track to exceed its passenger numbers for 2023. The latest data shows the first four months of 2024 have been busier than during the same period in 2023. In March, which is always a heavy travel time because of spring break, more than 600,000 passengers passed through Milwaukee Mitchell. In 2023, approximately 529,000 passengers traveled through the airport in March.

“The Republican National Convention is an extremely important opportunity for us to showcase Milwaukee on an international level,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “For many, MKE Airport will be the first impression of our city, and I’m extremely proud of the work being done by our entire Airport team to give travelers a positive and memorable experience.”

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