New airline begins service at Mitchell Airport

Posted at 11:58 AM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 18:14:07-05
It's a busy time of year at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport. 
Airport Director Ismael Bonilla said crowds will likely be up through early January as travelers in Milwaukee seek to escape the Midwest for warmer temperatures. 
"All our airlines look at an increase in passengers this time of year," Bonilla said. 
This winter, a European airline is flying out of Milwaukee for the first time. Norwegian Air Shuttle is operating charter flights this winter and spring. The flights are direct to Mexico and the Caribbean. They've been arranged through a deal with vacation companies Apple Vacations and Milwaukee-based Funjet Vacations, 
"We love it here," said Norwegian Air Shuttle Base Captain JT Bjorge. "We've been so welcomed here. We love the airport." 
Bonilla said such charter flights typically transport about 50,000 passengers a year out of Mitchell Airport. 
On Friday morning, the airport held a kickoff celebration for the first Norwegian flight from Milwaukee to Cancun, Mexico. 
"We're going with my Grandparents and my friends doing a big family trip," said 12-year old Jamie Strain. "I can't wait to go to the beach. It's really exciting." 
But not everyone's holiday vacation was off to such a smooth start. Chris Wills and his family, from Kenosha, arrived at the airport to find out their Frontier Airlines flight to Denver had been delayed roughly 13 hours. Wills said they would check in for the flight and then head back home for the afternoon. 
"Knowing what we know now, it would've been nice to sleep in," Wills said. 
He said the family travels to Colorado each year around Thanksgiving or Christmas to visit family. 
"This is actually the first time we've had this problem," Wills said. "But what are you going to do?"