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FWA gauges interest in Denver route

November 27th, 2017

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Dangling the carrot of a possible nonstop flight to Denver, Greater Fort Wayne is urging business travelers to complete an online survey to judge interest in what would be a destination for airlines that fly out of Fort Wayne International Airport.

No specific business or industry has come forward to say it has contacts in the Mile-High City it would like to see serviced, John Urbahns, Greater Fort Wayne executive vice president, said Monday.

But expansion in Denver has made it more of a connecting point to cities on the West Coast and even internationally, Urbahns said.

“Denver is a key hub west of Chicago, and it opens up a lot more places you can get to through Denver; ... that we'd be only one stop from,” Urbahns said.

Denver also is a hub for United Airlines, one of four carriers that serve Fort Wayne. But neither Urbahns nor Rebecca Neild, FWA marketing manager, would confirm United might be interested in starting a flight.

The survey is “not contingent on one airline or another. It could be any airline that is interested in providing the service,” Urbahns said.

The survey asks seven questions, including how difficult it is now to get to West Coast destinations; whether a company would use Denver to get to its 50 western destination cities; how much money the business might spend; and whether it would be willing to sign a corporate travel contract.

Urbahns said that while Denver might be a significant leisure-travel destination, the survey seeks only business input.

The deadline for submitting responses through www.surveymonkey.com/r/NewAirServiceSurvey is Nov. 30.

Of the more than 700,000 passengers who now fly in or out of FWA annually, about 60 percent are business travelers and 40 percent are leisure travelers, Neild said.

Last month, September traffic at the airport was reported down 3.74 percent from September 2016, while year-to-date figures were 0.6 percent off. Officials attributed the September drop to cancellations of 22 flights by three of the facility's four airlines because of effects of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“The Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority is always pursuing new non-stop routes and destinations,” airport officials said in a statement Monday afternoon. 

“The survey that was sent via Greater Fort Wayne Inc. will better help the airport present a compelling case for new West Coast destinations and potentially help attract new non-stop routes.”

Other destinations served by FWA are Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Myers, Minneapolis, Myrtle Beach, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix and Tampa. Other airlines using the facility are Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.