I went to a concert at Purdue several weeks ago, and saw a Miami Air 738 on approach to LAF (probably an athletic charter) as I was walking on campus. This made me think: The last scheduled service LAF had was AA/RegionsAir to STL on Jetstreams (and before that, NW/XJ SAABs to DTW). Competition with IND (less than an hour away, with extremely low fares at the time RegionsAir pulled out) was likely a factor.
That said, I still think LAF has potential for commercial air service - not with legacy RJ service to major hubs, but with ULCCs like G4 that want to provide a vacation alternative to big airports (IND, ORD/MDW) and serve a large local population base. G4 has done a similar strategy elsewhere in the state at GYY, serving GYY-SFB as an alternative to ORD/MDW-MCO and tapping into the large northwest Indiana population base. Because it still handles sports and other charters, LAF could also be modified for scheduled passenger service with minimal expense. And as a bonus, if pax service is successful at LAF again, they get more FAA funding. I could see G4 normally flying the route their normal 2x/week most of the year and boosting it to 4-5x/week during spring break at Purdue.
But I think there's a big reason why G4 hasn't started LAF yet: short runways and MD-80s don't mix. LAF has a short runway (6,600 ft), so G4 probably couldn't send their Mad Dogs in to SFB (which I think would be a natural route for relaunching scheduled service). But with the A319s coming online soon (far superior short-field performance) and SFB as one of the first Airbus bases for G4, plus rising fares at IND across the board, could G4 give LAF-SFB the ol' "college" try? I could see G4 doing a good job, and it could even draw people from Indy's north/northwest suburbs thanks to IND's rising fares and free parking at LAF.
Anyone else see potential for G4 at LAF?