Fort Wayne Airport Expansion Key for Northeast Indiana’s Growth

By: Brandon Noll on August 29th, 2020

Fort Wayne International Airport Investing in Region

“How was your flight?” I asked a couple of site consultants as they landed in Fort Wayne. “Just fantastic! The security guard asked us how our day was going and then gave us a cookie! That has never happened before,” one site consultant replied.

As soon as you land at Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA), you’re greeted by someone with a big smile and handed a cookie. That's why FWA is the nation’s friendliest airport according to USA Today. In 2019, that friendly feeling welcomed nearly 800,000 passengers, marking the 10th year of consecutive growth for FWA.

FWA is working on a massive expansion project—Project Gateway. Here are some details about this important investment in the region.

  • Completed Projects 
    • Parking Lot Rehabilitation Project
      • This project broke ground in April 2020 and was completed in May 2020, lasting 4 weeks.
      • Originally slated to take place in multiple phases throughout the summer to avoid disrupting passenger flow, the project was able to be completed in one sweeping phase due to COVID-19 and a dip in passenger traffic.
      • The project increased the capacity of FWA’s Long-Term and Short-Term parking lots.
      • The Parking Lot Rehabilitation Project created van-accessible handicap parking spaces in both Long-Term and Short-Term lots, modified the flow of traffic in the Short-Term lot, added Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Short-Term Parking, created additional parking capacity in Long-Term and Short-Term lots. 
  • Projects in Process
    • Terminal Apron Improvement Project 
      • The Terminal Apron Improvement Project broke ground on March 30, 2020.
      • The project is split into two phases—the East Phase and West Phase.
      • The East Phase will relocate Gate 1, the service road for deliveries, a portion of the perimeter road, and the fuel tanks.
      • As part of the East Phase, existing Hangar 1003 has been demolished and the Tenant Manager Parking Lot will be reconfigured to allow for use by hotel shuttles and buses picking up passengers near the existing taxi chute. Additional improvements will be made in a portion of the existing overflow parking lot to adjust for grade changes as well and concrete replacement and repair on the terminal ramp. 
      • The West Phase focuses on improvements on the west portion of the terminal ramp and north ramp. 
      • In this portion of the project, Gate 51 will be relocated and the jet blast fence will be removed. The existing Airport Authority Manager Parking Lot will be repurposed and prepared for the upcoming Terminal Expansion and Renovation Project.
    • Car Rental Canopy and Solar Panel Project
      • This project began on July 20, 2020 and will focus on extending the existing canopies in the Rental Car Facility. This project is unique because it’s the first development on the airport focused on renewable energy via solar panels.
      • Six additional canopies will be added to the rental car lot, allowing all rental car vehicles to be parked in a covered space. Along with the installation of new canopies, solar panels will be installed on all existing and new canopies, creating a small solar farm that will provide energy for the airport terminal building.
      • Over a number of years, the airport’s use of electricity will be reduced, making the facility greener.
  • Projects Up Next
    • West Terminal Expansion and Renovation
      • The highly anticipated Terminal Expansion and Renovation Project is moving forward and is currently on track to tentatively break ground in Spring 2021.
      • This project will see the existing terminal building expand westward with the addition of two gates, making FWA’s total number of available passenger gates 10. It also features a number of improvements/additions and an overall modernization of the terminal’s western half of existing space.
      • The expansion and renovation will expand and streamline the airline ticketing area, create a new TSA baggage handling system, add additional jet bridges, new holding rooms, expanded and renovated mechanical systems, a modernized interior throughout the West side of the terminal building, and a complete facelift of the terminal front façade.
      • The project will also create a designated Mother’s Room, as well as spaces that are welcoming and accessible for passengers and guests of all abilities—with airport personnel working with local organizations for input.
      • Mead & Hunt was selected as the architecture firm in 2019 and has been working on design concepts in three phases for the project with the final design phase scheduled to be finalized this month.
      • Michael Kinder & Sons (MKS), with Flintco, was selected as the Construction Manager for the project in late May 2020 and will oversee the project as a whole as construction begins.
      • The project is expected to tentatively wrap-up in Spring 2023 and will present a brand-new gateway to the Fort Wayne community.

The continued growth and expansion for the region’s primary local airport is a huge asset to attracting and retaining business investment in Northeast Indiana.

In fact, site consultant company Wadley Donovan Gutshaw weights 10% of the overall score for communities to “Air/Travel Access.” Northeast Indiana scores well compared to larger metros noting “convenient air travel to non-stop destinations and drivable to Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus” as one of Northeast Indiana's stand-out attributes.

With COVID-19, travel changed, but what has not changed is the importance of flying FWA and celebrating its investment in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana.

For more information about these projects or FWA, please visit the website www.fwairport.com.

If you’re as serious about business as we are, then give us a call today and let’s chat about how business in Northeast Indiana can benefit your company.

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