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Flights to Philly, Charlotte debut

October 3rd, 2014

News Coverage:

Last updated: October 3, 2014 3:06 a.m.

Flights to Philly, Charlotte debut

Paul Wyche | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne International Airport continues to spread its wings.

Daily nonstop flights from Fort Wayne to Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina, began Thursday.

The added destinations were in large part the result of a $2.5 million regional effort to connect with the East Coast. US Airways Express flights will take off twice daily to Philadelphia and once daily to Charlotte.

City and county officials say the flights are needed to bolster economic development. Fort Wayne City Council, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership banded together to make the flights a reality.

In March, the Fort Wayne City Council kicked in up to $600,000 to help induce an airline to offer daily flights to an East Coast travel hub. The citys offer over two years is to help create a minimum revenue guarantee for whichever airline began operating daily flights.

The minimum revenue guarantee is part of a $2.5 million incentive package built around a $600,000 federal grant.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and the airport authority are contributing $500,000 toward the package; Allen County is contributing $150,000; the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered $100,000; and the Regional Opportunities Council $50,000.

Last fall, a consultant told Fort Wayne International leaders that pilot shortages and competition from nearby airports in bigger cities are among the hurdles regional airports face as they continue to negotiate with carriers for increased service.

The regional coalition of boosters believe the additional flights will help address some issues.

And last month, the travel hub gained a fourth daily flight to Atlanta with Delta Air Lines.

Greater Fort Wayne CEO Mark Becker said business community members already see advantages.

“It opens up possibilities to connect internationally,” he said. “Greater access translates into greater economic development in our region.”

A round-trip passenger departing today from Fort Wayne to Philadelphia, returning Monday, could pay a $491 fare. The lowest fare for flying to Charlotte is $655. 

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