By Dan McGowan
FORT WAYNE — The executive director of airports at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority says passenger travel at Fort Wayne International Airport in 2015 finished just shy of a record.
Scott Hinderman says several factors, including an improving local economy, additional routes and a higher frequency of large planes at FWA contributed to the sixth consecutive year of growth. In all, passenger traffic was up 11 percent compared to 2015.
Hinderman says a component of the increase was more emphasis on new routes. “We gained a route to Philadelphia and Charlotte and about a month ago, American now put yet another frequency going to Charlotte.”
He said carriers are adding flights that use larger aircraft, which also contributed to the largest year-over-year jump since the early 1990s. On the commercial side of the operations, Smith Field Airport, also located on the property, sold more aviation fuel in 2015 than ever before.
Officials say the number of people boarding flights totaled 359,051 last year, compared to 324,151 a year earlier. Total boarders were up 35 percent over 2009. Total traffic was also up 11 percent year-over-year. “Our two newest nonstop flights were able to mature and build momentum in 2015 and the traffic numbers reflect that. This growth is entirely thanks to the community for supporting their local airport,” said Hinderman. “We’re looking forward to continuing our focus on customer service in 2016 and working toward another year of growth.”
Hinderman adds “air service is something that is kind of an indicator of the economy” and tells Inside Indiana Business the authority increased its marketing budget last year to raise awareness in its economically-improving home region.
FWA has daily, nonstops to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Minneapolis and Philadelphia, as well as twice-weekly nonstop service to Orlando/Sanford, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Phoenix/Mesa and Myrtle Beach.