Since it's only been briefly mentioned, Pro Air (P9/PRH) hubbed here from July 4, 1997 to September 18, 2000 with 737-300s and 737-400s. As a founding member of this airline, I can say that we did our best to work with the city to make DET more appealing and safe, improved the roads greatly surrounding the airport, and helped get the terminal improved to what is seen today on their website. WN
layed the groundwork for the terminal and P9
Pro Air started by serving DET-BWI
, then IND
, and MKE
. Flights on our 737-400s (8/138 seating) were full to MKE
in less than a month after service started there, of course prompting a response from NW
which ultimately led to MKE
being the first city dropped! We eventually served PHL
, and weekend non-stop charter flights to RSW
A few things always hindered us at DET though. Runway length was an issue (5001' x 100'), but we worked with what we had (great pilots and dispatchers!). Getting the families to move the cemetary was something we would have loved to see (our CEO has family buried there too), but was unrealistic.
Another thing that worked against us was that we were dealing with the Detroit City government and investment fund. Every time we were "set" to get money released from this investment fund, the wheels of bureaucracy hit the brakes...It made operating P9
on a small budget and only getting a nibble instead of a feast...
I won't get into the FAA side of things as that's another thread for a different lifetime, but that is one reason that DET didn't have anything to do with.
All in all, for the 3 plus years that Pro Air operated at DET, we did our best to revitalize a part of Detroit that needed help, and I think that we did a good job in adding to the city's economy by serving this small, yet strategically located airport.