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Verbatim: New eastbound flight sought from Fort Wayne, study says

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership issued this news release today:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Air travelers want a new flight out of Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) to the East Coast and voiced support of a public-private partnership to gain that air service, according to a study released by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

The survey was developed by the Regional Air Service Committee (RASC), which the Airport Authority and the Regional Partnership's Vision 2020 initiative co-convened earlier this year to involve regional leaders in the process of improving air service at FWA. Committee members distributed the survey to gain a greater understanding of the needs and attitudes of business travelers in Northeast Indiana. The information will help direct future activities of the RASC and give airport officials insight into the priorities and experiences of local business travelers, including their travel habits, purchase process and preference for new routes.

"Our goal is to make Fort Wayne International Airport the first choice for travelers in Northeast Indiana," said Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority. "The results of the survey are already being used to help us enhance the services provided at FWA, and we look forward to incorporating them into our long-term strategic plans."

The study reveals that the top five domestic flights wanted out of FWA are New York City, Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas/Fort Worth and Orlando. Orlando, Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta have existing direct flights out of Fort Wayne. The results point toward a desire for a new eastbound route. The Airport Authority hopes to use its recently awarded $600,000 grant from the Small Community Air Service Development Program to pursue eastbound route expansions.

The survey also found that 73% of respondents indicated their support of a public-private partnership, which would be focused on reducing the start-up costs for a carrier interested in increasing service at FWA.

"Public-private partnerships will be a necessary part of attracting new flights and route expansions at FWA," said Katy Silliman, vice president of regional initiatives at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "That's why we've made expanding air service options in Northeast Indiana one of our priorities for Vision 2020. It will help us compete for new businesses and new jobs."

The Regional Opportunities Council (ROC), which oversees the Partnership's Vision 2020 initiative, determines the region's priorities within five key economic growth areas: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. Air service is one of the top seven priorities identified by the ROC, which is comprised of over 100 regional leaders.

The business travel survey was distributed throughout the 10 counties in Northeast Indiana in addition to Kosciusko County. A total of 353 responses were received. Focuses of the survey included frequency of business travel, changes in travel habits over time, top domestic and international destinations, originating airport and preferred airport amenities.

An executive summary and the full report can be found in the Resource Center on the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership's Vision 2020 website.

Visit the Vision 2020 website for a list of all RASC members and more information on the Vision 2020 priorities.

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