Airport and business leaders hope the addition of nonstop flights this winter from Indianapolis to Jamaica and the Bahamas will open the door to more nonstop flights.
Delta plans to introduce weekly routes to Montego Bay and Nassau just before Christmas.
Chris Matney, Indianapolis Intentional Airport air service director, says anything that increases the airport‘s reach at a time of contractions and mergers in the airline industry is a step forward. Matney says the airport had been pursuing service to Europe until the recession hit.
It is now focusing on gaps in domestic coverage, such as San Francisco, in hopes overseas travel will follow. Matney says even the island getaways are a step in that direction if they succeed.
“Airlines are a lot more conservative than they were in the past. It costs $40 billion, $50 billion to run a daily nonstop back and forth to the west coast service, so that’s a fairly significant investment for them,” Matney says. “They’re looking for communities that not only have the number but find out what kind of support is there.”
Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar agrees the expanded roster of cities served by Indianapolis will be a plus.
“It helps to have even vacation destinations, which are not necessarily people doing business, but perhaps a lot of business people,” he says. “Any new flight destinations announced are good news.”
Brinegar says every direct connection they can make from Indianapolis to other cities raises the city‘s attractiveness.