Nonstop Flights Bring Big Economic Benefits

Nonstop Flights Bring Big Economic Benefits

As air traffic begins to pick back up across the world, the potential for major benefits once again begins flying Indiana’s way. The state has about 55 nonstop flight options available throughout the state’s various airports, reaching destinations all over the world. Did you know that each one of these nonstop flights is an economic asset? Each time one is established, they produce solid returns for our business community. We’re talking about big dollars, not just extra frequent flyer miles.


More Business Connections = More Revenue

The interesting thing about the economic impact of nonstop flights is that it’s all created by the people taking them – the passengers. To clarify, it’s all about the business connections they form during their visits to other cities.

A working paper by researchers at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the University of Zurich examined data from 819 different cities. They identified specific correlations between increased economic activity and nonstop flights.

“Connections induce further connections,” the authors noted. “Increasing interconnectedness generates economic activity at the local level by inducing links between businesses.”

These findings also supported the notion that more direct flight connections between cities generates a greater return than general increases to airport capacity. So, it’s less about how many people you can move and more about how directly you can connect them to their destinations.

One good example would be the newer nonstop flight from Indianapolis to Paris, France that was launched in 2017. At the time of the inaugural flight, officials with the Indianapolis Airport Authority estimated the new route would have a $50 million annual impact on the state’s economy. And that’s all from one nonstop route scheduled three times per week.


State Seeks More Nonstops

Increasing nonstop air transit routes is a major goal for Indiana’s current administration. Officials have made it clear on more than one occasion that “Indiana is committed to improving the state’s connectivity by attracting new nonstop and direct flights to and from Indiana’s airports,” in large part due to the economic benefits.

Governor Eric Holcomb said, “New nonstop flights provide a critical link in connecting Hoosier companies, residents, and tourists to destinations around the world. We’re working with airlines to get more non-stop flights in and out of our airports.”


New Nonstops Land in Indiana

Earlier this spring, nonstop flights in Indiana got a big boost with the announcement that Tennessee-based Contour Airlines plans to establish an aircraft base at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) and launch three new domestic routes.

The company will be purchasing additional ERJ-135/145 aircraft and investing a significant amount over the next few years to establish its new base of operations, which will initially house two of the regional jets. Contour Airlines said it will create up to 55 new jobs in central Indiana by the end of 2023.

“Indiana is a natural fit for Contour Airline’s growth,” said Matt Chaifetz, chief executive officer of Contour. “We look forward to employing Hoosiers and bringing Indy travelers nonstop service to key business and leisure markets.”

The new daily air service will connect Indiana to Nashville International Airport (BNA) in Tennessee, St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) in Missouri, and Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) in Pennsylvania. Contour will serve the IND market with its fleet of 30-seat ERJ-135/145 aircraft, which have features that are equivalent to first class on other domestic carriers.

According to OAG, a global travel data provider, Contour is one of the most punctual airlines in North America. With the addition of these new routes, Contour will serve 20 routes in 10 states, and Indianapolis will become the airline’s 2nd focus city after Santa Barbara, CA. The company has plans to expand its service to and from Indianapolis and offer more new nonstop routes in the future.

Additionally, earlier this June, Allegiant Air launched a new seasonal non-stop route from the Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) to the McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, NV. The route will operate twice weekly, on Thursdays and Sundays, from early June to mid-August 2020.

“This new route brings more celebration to FWA in addition to our 10th consecutive year of growth,” said Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority.

This new route is the fourteenth non-stop destination that FWA offers to the Northeast Indiana region, and the seventh non-stop route from Allegiant Air.


More are Sure to Come

Given the returns possible, it’s likely we’ll be seeing a lot more nonstops launched throughout the state’s various airports before long. So, the next time you look up and see a plane headed to one of our destinations, remember that it may be carrying a whole lot of new opportunities.

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