Building Business One Runway at a Time
|By Daniel Muscatello
As the construction equipment moves the earth at the Airport, it is laying the foundation for more than an extended runway. The new and improved Airport will position Gary, with O’Hare and Midway, as an important element of the regional airport system. Most importantly this will give Northwest Indiana and Chicago substantial additional capacity to address their long-term future aviation needs. The three airports which are tied together through a unique board structure will be able to offer all regional residents greater travel efficiencies and lower costs to an increasing number of destinations.
For the Indiana residents, these options, which will continue to increase and diversify as the runway project approaches completion next year, will also bring new aviation-related jobs, and the potential of new commercial and retail business. This economic development dynamic will benefit all the Northern Counties. It is anticipated that the new activity will include charter flights to a wide-variety of vacation destinations, increased general aviation activity, and the eventual introduction of scheduled passenger activity to major connecting hubs.
The presence and potential success of Allegiant at Gary is very important to the Airport’s future and has demonstrated the carrier’s confidence in the Airport’s position in the regional and national marketplace. The Airport itself is adding improvements and amenities to the Terminal, parking is safe and secure, and perhaps most importantly, the passengers could not be happier with the level of service they have received. The Airport and the Regional Development Authority are working to ensure that the momentum continues.
One of the most important issues for an airport is getting there! This critical area is being addressed as well. The Cline Avenue Bridge is being rebuilt and a separate Airport entrance off the Toll Road is under consideration. Both of these improvements will not only make regional access easier, but will also broaden the attractiveness of the Airport to the traveling public within a 100 mile radius. It will also ease concerns that inbound passengers from other States could have regarding ground access to points in Indiana and Chicago. The goal is to make the Gary Airport as attractive an option for travelers for whom the region is a destination as it is for local residents traveling for business or pleasure.
We will be happy to address your questions and/or concerns in future issues. In the meantime, if you are wondering what you can do to help the Airport succeed, think about going to Disneyworld………..on Allegiant……………from your Airport!
Daniel Muscatello is Managing Director, Cargo & Logistics, for aviation consulting firm Landrum & Brown.