Indiana News

New Indy-to-Caribbean Flights a Step Toward Expanding Airport's Reach

7/25/2013

Airport and business leaders hope the addition of nonstop flights this winter from Indy to Jamaica and the Bahamas will open the door to bigger things.

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Delta plans to introduce weekly routes to Montego Bay and Nassau just before Christmas. Chris Matney, the airport's 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.

Despite its international-airport designation, the only foreign destinations you can reach directly from Indianapolis are Toronto and, in the winter, Cancun. Matney says the airport had been pursuing service to Europe until the recession hit. It's now focusing on trying to fill gaps in domestic coverage, in hopes overseas travel will follow.

Matney says even the island getaways are a step in that direction if they succeed. He says airlines are more adamant about being satisfied that the demand for a route justifies adding it.

In particular, Indy has been making the case for nonstop travel to San Francisco. Matney says there's high demand for business travel to the Bay Area.

Indiana Chamber president Kevin Brinegar agrees the expanded roster of cities served by Indianapolis will be a plus, even if the new additions are vacation destinations. Even if people aren't doing business in Montego Bay, Brinegar says, there are business people making the trip, and every direct connection they can make from Indy to other cities raises the city's attractiveness.

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