INDIANAPOLIS — The post-pandemic rebound has officially arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport.
More than 4.7 million passengers traveled through the Indy airport in the first six months of 2023, breaking a record for the reigning best midsize airport in North America.
“We had more enplanements in the first six months of 2023 that we’ve seen in the first half of any year to date,” said Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “And for a single month, this June was the biggest June we’ve had in the airport’s history.”
In addition, March was one of the strongest months in the first half of 2023 due to a record-breaking spring break travel season, with passenger numbers surpassing pre-pandemic levels. May and June trailed closely behind March, respectively.
Rodriguez said enplanements were up 11.5 percent so far this year, outpacing Midwest peer airports.
Marsha Wurster, IAA senior director of commercial enterprise, said Indy’s appeal as a top host city has also contributed to the increase in passenger traffic.
“Guests are flying in from all around the world to attend major conventions and sporting events in Indy, like FDIC International, JAMFest Cheer Super Nationals and the Indy 500,” said Wurster. “When these events overlay with a major holiday or travel season that also boosts passenger traffic.”
Memorial Day was one of the single busiest days at the Indy airport as race fans headed home and travelers were flying en masse over Memorial Day weekend. Airlines with service out of the Indy airport added 20 percent more seat capacity for flights departing the Monday after the race.
New, Resumed Nonstop Flights Adding To Numbers
To date in 2023, five new or reinstated nonstop flights joined the roster out of Indy, and three schedule changes gave more convenience and capacity for passengers headed to San Francisco and Toronto.
In January, Allegiant Air added a special nonstop flight from Indy to Orlando to accommodate fans headed to the Purdue Citrus Bowl game, and Frontier Airlines added a seasonal, twice-weekly nonstop flight headed to Phoenix. Frontier also resumed its seasonal nonstop flight twice per week to Raleigh-Durham in May.
Much anticipated, Southwest Airlines resumed its twice daily during weekdays and once on Sunday nonstop flights to Kansas City in April, and its seasonal San Diego nonstop flight once weekly resumed in June.
Air Canada increased capacity for Hoosier travelers adjusting its aircraft from a 50-seater to a 76-seat jet and improved its access from Indy to Toronto with twice daily flights on weekdays and once on Saturdays, in June through August of this year. It remains on the larger aircraft at one flight per day through the end of the year.
Looking ahead, Delta Air Lines will reinstate its nonstop flight from Indy to Salt Lake City starting March 10, 2024. United Airlines will adjust its flight schedule on the return trip home to Indy from San Francisco, which is currently operating as a red eye. Beginning Oct. 29, the flight will arrive in Indianapolis at about 9 p.m., providing a more convenient flight time.
Wurster said the Indy airport continues to pursue a nonstop transatlantic flight to Europe as a top priority, supported by a compelling business case, even through the continued challenges of the pandemic and airlines’ availability of aircraft and crew. The airport is also pursuing strategic nonstop flights throughout the United States that align with the needs of the business community and leisure travelers.