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New Direct Flight Out of Indy Hopes To Increase Business

A new flight from Indianapolis to San Francisco completes its first round trip tomorrow.

United Airlines plane

Photo: via flickr (happyrelm)

United Airlines Flight 500 is the first non-stop flight from Indianapolis to San Francisco.

The first direct flight from San Francisco to Indianapolis is on time to arrive in Indianapolis tonight, completing its first round trip tomorrow when it heads back to San Francisco.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Governor Mike Pence have hailed the United Airlines flight as an important business opportunity.

And Air Service Director for the Indianapolis International Airport Chris Matney says San Francisco was the top travel destination out of Indianapolis even without non-stop service.

“Not having access to a strategic market like San Francisco was making it difficult to be connected with key customers, key opportunities,” Matney said. “Not having direct access between our two markets kind of put us at a disadvantage.”

But to guarantee its success, the flight has to sell. The state agreed to what’s called a minimum revenue guarantee. So Indiana Economic Development Corporation spokesperson Katelyn Hancock says if United Airlines doesn’t sell enough tickets, the state agency will have to pick up the cost.

“The IEDC did allocate 1.5 million in a reserve fund, however no payments from this reserve fund will occur as long as the market support for the non-stop route equals or exceeds the minimum revenue guarantee,” Hancock said.

As of last week 5,000 tickets for the flight had been sold.

Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny is an education reporter for StateImpact Indiana. She comes to WFIU/WTIU from KCUR in Kansas City. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas where she discovered her passion for public media and the stories it tells. You can follow her on Twitter @ClaireMcInerny.

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