Take Flight
April 6, 2015
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  • Planes are cleared to land in Ottawa County.

    The Erie-Ottawa International Airport recently released figures illustrating their growth from 2013 to 2014.

    According to the data, the airport had at least 50 percent more planes land, purchase fuel and take off from the airport in 2014.

    Airport director Stan Gebhardt attributed the airport’s recent growth to the popularity of planes in Ohio.

    “(Flying) is very popular in northern Ohio due to the islands and the rich aviation history of this area,” Gebhardt said. “Ohio residents, thanks to the Wright brothers, and others, have a lot to talk about when it comes to aviation.”

    The airport also saw an uptick in business after Erie County’s airport — Griffing Airport — closed its location along Ohio 6 near Sandusky.

    The Erie-Ottawa airport switched from a “regional” airport to an “international” airport in November, 2013.

    “(There is) an opportunity to offer easy access for Canadians flying to the United States,” Gebhardt said.

    The numbers show the Ottawa County airport is flourishing under its updated flight options.

    According to the data, the airport saw a 70 percent increase in the number of general aviation —flights for fun — planes passing through the airport from 2013 to 2014. Similar growth can be seen for commercial flights, which increased by 50 percent during the same time frame.

    General aviation flights can range anywhere from 150 to 200 miles in length, while commercial flights can come from anywhere in the United States or eastern Canada, Gebhardt said.

    An increase in fuel sales came with more planes using the airport.
    The airport’s primary sources of income are fuel sales, hangar rent, and parking.

    The airport sold nearly 20,000 gallons of low-lead aviation fuel in 2014, a 37 percent increase from the previous year. The fuel sales nearly doubled for turbine-powered aircraft, which had fuel sales increase by 88 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the data.

    Gebhardt said he speaks from personal experience about how many residents enjoy the pleasure of flying in the area.

    “I fly a couple times per week,” Gebhardt said. “I lived on Middle Bass Island for about 11 years, so flying was needed transportation as well as for pleasure.”

    The airport is open 24 hours per day, everyday except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Office hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.