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FWAERJ
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Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:45 pm

The IAA has long said that IND is an underserved airport, even back in the days of the NW focus city and record traffic. Others, including some who follow other airports that leak traffic to IND (I won't name names), say that IND is way overserved.

Personally, I see it as both. IND has way too much service to Orlando/Tampa/Fort Myers and the Northeast - much more than other similar airports. But IND still has many untapped markets. Now that AS has added SEA, filling in a huge void, SAN is the largest unserved nonstop domestic market from IND. Of course, there's the possibility of BA to LHR or DL to CDG, most likely the former (even after Brexit) due to Indy's ties to the UK. MSY is currently only served seasonally by G4, but WN could easily add a year-round nonstop. And G4 could add a flight to VPS because the panhandle is a popular vacation choice in the area.

Thoughts?
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superjeff
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:04 pm

Depends on what destination. I've flown nonstop IND-LAX (AA, DL, WN), and there is also IND-SFO (UA), and now SEA. Pretty much anywhere else, either in the U.S., Asia/South Pacific, or Europe, can be reached with only one stop/connection from IND. I think that IND has a decent amount of service, not necessarily underserved or overserved.
 
Indy
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:25 pm

Can't really call an airport that is nearly all O/D traffic over served. You could make that claim if you had 2 & 3 carriers on a route and flights were leaving with low load factors. I think if you want to look at over served airports you have to look at hubs. For now you still have to call IND an under served airport because of the number of larger markets currently without service.
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FWAERJ
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:44 pm

Indy wrote:
Can't really call an airport that is nearly all O/D traffic over served. You could make that claim if you had 2 & 3 carriers on a route and flights were leaving with low load factors. I think if you want to look at over served airports you have to look at hubs. For now you still have to call IND an under served airport because of the number of larger markets currently without service.


Well, some of the new WN routes to the Northeast that compete with DL are experiencing terrible LFs. Not sure about the yields.

As for the Orlando market, I'm surprised that IND can support 4 carriers and 7 flights a day - WN, DL, and two ULCCs (F9 and G4). I know that Orlando is a popular destination, but similar markets don't have nearly as many flights as IND. Maybe it's because IND has a larger catchment area than many other airports - both from the university towns in Indiana that don't have scheduled service plus overlap with CVG, FWA, DAY, and the trifecta of BMI/CMI/SPI (PIA is too far).

Looking at the future: With I-69 from Indy to Evansville at five out of six sections done (with the sixth coming in 2020), I could see the IAA making a big marketing push then because it will now be a viable alternative to EVV. If US 31 is turned into a four-lane divided highway from South Bend to Indy (many of the required improvements are already done), I could see IND becoming an alternate for SBN much like ORD and MDW are today.
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enilria
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:03 pm

What is the definition of over or under served? It's all economics. There's not a dominant airline keeping out competition.

The airport had a perfectly functional, low-cost terminal. They shut it and built a very expensive one. That changed the economics of operating at IND. When costs go up, fares go up, and when fares go up demand goes down and capacity drops. So, basically they would have more service if they hadn't built the new terminal. The good news is that airport costs are cyclical and they are paying the price now, but in 7-8 years the costs will be back at a more competitive level.

Another thought. I was always baffled how MKE had two hubs at one point (YX/F9 and FL), while IND really hasn't had anything similar since TZ. I don't think IND had much chance of getting a hub going forward, but IND was certainly a better choice for FL as opposed to trying to make a second hub in MKE. If FL had chosen IND instead it is possible that both the IND and MKE hubs would still exist (depending how FL/WN and F9/YX/RJET played out in that scenario), but water under the bridge...
 
ATAIndy
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:18 pm

FWAERJ wrote:
The IAA has long said that IND is an underserved airport, even back in the days of the NW focus city and record traffic. Others, including some who follow other airports that leak traffic to IND (I won't name names), say that IND is way overserved.

Personally, I see it as both.

Thoughts?


I think one has to compare IND to similar sized non-hub markets in the region like CMH, MKE, CLE, CVG, STL, BNA to have any kind of apples to apples comparison of IND's level of service. First let's see what IND has: a recent mini build-up by WN, adding or resuming 6 destinations over the last two years; two ULCC's covering just about every major leisure market in the U.S. (albeit some seasonally) with G4 just entering the market two years ago; a decent presence by DL to most major business markets leftover from the NW focus city days (some like BDL and AUS didn't stick around); and the resumption of more mainline aircraft from both AA (PHL, ORD/DCA seasonally) and UA (ORD and DEN).

Compare that to the others and one sees that IND fits just about right in with them, out serving some markets and under serving others. At MKE WN has additional service to markets like SAN, MSP, and STL that IND lacks, but IND has better ULCC service and more mainline from AA/DL/UA. IND has a markedly better ULCC presence than CMH, an equal amount of DL service and near equal WN service (IND has LAX, MCI while CMH has OAK, STL, and BNA). CVG and IND are pretty equal in ULCC offerings, CVG having a slight boost from DL hub remnant routes. BNA and STL benefit from a larger WN presence, opening up additional markets such as OAK, SAT, AUS, etc.

I personally think IND is served about as well as one would expect given the market size and location. An article from a local media outlet just came out yesterday proclaiming that IND was "aggressively" pursuing a laundry list of destinations, everything from SAN and PDX to SMF and ONT. I think SAN is a gimme and PDX may show up with time after AS settles in to SEA. But SMF and ONT? Quite frankly those are ridiculous and too long and thin to have IND service. Who ever at the airport authority who put those two on the list must have personal connections to them, or are expecting WN to make IND the next MDW.
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ATAIndy
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:23 pm

enilria wrote:
So, basically they would have more service if they hadn't built the new terminal.

Another thought. I was always baffled how MKE had two hubs at one point (YX/F9 and FL), while IND really hasn't had anything similar since TZ. I don't think IND had much chance of getting a hub going forward, but IND was certainly a better choice for FL as opposed to trying to make a second hub in MKE. If FL had chosen IND instead it is possible that both the IND and MKE hubs would still exist (depending how FL/WN and F9/YX/RJET played out in that scenario), but water under the bridge...


IND had little choice but to build a new terminal. The old one was toast, the gates were full, and you couldn't travel between concourses without leaving security except for B/C. I agree that the new terminal has higher costs, but it didn't help that the economy slumped off one year before it opened and DL drew back a good portion of the NW focus city nearly concurrently with moving to the new terminal. Now they just squat on all the gates in A concourse.

The closest thing IND had to dueling hubs were the dueling NW/TZ focus cities. I absolutely agree that FL would have had a better ride at IND over MKE.
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:37 pm

ATAIndy wrote:
An article from a local media outlet just came out yesterday proclaiming that IND was "aggressively" pursuing a laundry list of destinations, everything from SAN and PDX to SMF and ONT. I think SAN is a gimme and PDX may show up with time after AS settles in to SEA. But SMF and ONT? Quite frankly those are ridiculous and too long and thin to have IND service. Who ever at the airport authority who put those two on the list must have personal connections to them, or are expecting WN to make IND the next MDW.


Seriously? SMF and ONT? DTW serves an MSA twice the size of IND, has a hub with 415 Delta flights a day, and doesn't have non-stops to SMF or ONT.

I'm not even enthusiastic about the possibility for IND-SAN. I believe it's too far for an E75. That pushes it to a 73W or 319, and then it's competing with the economics of larger aircraft with connections and of larger/more efficient aircraft IND-LAX.
 
FWAERJ
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:16 pm

enilria wrote:
The airport had a perfectly functional, low-cost terminal. They shut it and built a very expensive one. That changed the economics of operating at IND. When costs go up, fares go up, and when fares go up demand goes down and capacity drops. So, basically they would have more service if they hadn't built the new terminal. The good news is that airport costs are cyclical and they are paying the price now, but in 7-8 years the costs will be back at a more competitive level.


I side with you and differ with ATAIndy on the terminal issue. TZ did not want the current IND terminal at all because the old terminal could have easily been renovated and expanded at a fraction of the cost (i.e.: moving one of the parking lots and building another garage to build a hammerhead on Concourse A).

More importantly, the old terminal was incredibly cheap to operate from. Cost per enplanement was about $2.50 at the old terminal - it's in the $9 range now and was over $11 at its Great Recession peak. Other airports that competed with IND couldn't compete with their low CPE. CVG couldn't offer incentives for many years because they had to offer them to DL first, and FWA had a CPE in the $12+ range that deterred airlines from adding service along with a jet fuel vendor that charged far-above-market rates with no fleet discounts accepted. Well, CVG renegotiated with DL so they could offer incentives, which is why F9 and G4 now have a large presence there. And FWA's CPE is now in the $7 range, making it competitive with IND from a CPE standpoint, plus Avfuel is now FWA's fuel vendor and charges market or less rates to Avfuel fleet customers (including just about every US airline).

Had IND decided to renovate their perfectly fine previous terminal, I can assure you that CVG and FWA wouldn't have seen the massive growth (though in the case of CVG, O&D growth only because of the DL hub downsizing) over the past five years.
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ScottB
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:47 pm

ATAIndy wrote:
IND had little choice but to build a new terminal. The old one was toast, the gates were full, and you couldn't travel between concourses without leaving security except for B/C


Who realistically needs to travel between concourses at an airport where the traffic is virtually all O&D? Maybe a handful of people who work at the airport and can use their badges to get to the front of the TSA line anyway? The old terminal was also five minutes closer to the city and there was plenty of land nearby which could have been used to expand it.

ATAIndy wrote:
Compare that to the others and one sees that IND fits just about right in with them, out serving some markets and under serving others. At MKE WN has additional service to markets like SAN, MSP, and STL that IND lacks, but IND has better ULCC service and more mainline from AA/DL/UA. IND has a markedly better ULCC presence than CMH, an equal amount of DL service and near equal WN service (IND has LAX, MCI while CMH has OAK, STL, and BNA).


Comparing CMH & IND on the basis of ULCC service is a bit flawed in that most of the ULCC service to Columbus is at LCK, which is operated by the same authority as CMH. There are also issues with comparing airports market-to-market in that an airport pair like IND-STL was served by WN in the past, but was dropped because the total travel time by air is essentially the same as the travel time by car.
 
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:16 pm

ScottB wrote:
Who realistically needs to travel between concourses at an airport where the traffic is virtually all O&D? Maybe a handful of people who work at the airport and can use their badges to get to the front of the TSA line anyway? The old terminal was also five minutes closer to the city and there was plenty of land nearby which could have been used to expand it.


Sorry I have to disagree with pretty much all of this. It would be very short sighted thinking to built a new terminal and not allow people to move between concourses. Why? You cannot predict future airline operations and needs. You cannot predict how future tickets will be sold and how ticketing services may sell tickets that involve flights using multiple airlines where concourse transfers may be needed. It is easier to design something like this into a new terminal and built it with everything else than it is to build it at a later date.

The old terminal was beyond capacity. The security line at the B/C concourse was terrible. Security couldn't reasonably handle the demand of those two concourses. There was absolutely no way to fix it. There was no room for future growth at this terminal. There was no room for new airlines, ticket counters, etc. There wasn't even proper international arrivals. The parking garage was at capacity and no real way to expand it either. While the old terminal was located much closer to downtown, it was painted in a corner. It simply was not designed for modern air traffic. It was dated and had to go.
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Indy
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:27 pm

enilria wrote:
The airport had a perfectly functional, low-cost terminal. They shut it and built a very expensive one. That changed the economics of operating at IND. When costs go up, fares go up, and when fares go up demand goes down and capacity drops. So, basically they would have more service if they hadn't built the new terminal. The good news is that airport costs are cyclical and they are paying the price now, but in 7-8 years the costs will be back at a more competitive level.


The airlines bare some of the blame for the increased cost per passenger served. While the airport does control part of it in terms of lease rates, the airlines control part based on the number of seats they move through on any given day. If you run a handful of RJs through a gate your cost per passenger served will be much higher than if you are using large mainline planes. It becomes a vicious cycle at that point.

As far as costs go IND was actually a cheap project. The cost of the new terminal itself was under $400 mil. A big chunk of the total cost was the highway work which the airlines are not paying for. The entire project was about $1 billion but that included a terminal, interstate highway work, and the new control tower. Nearly 2/3rds of the total cost is unrelated to airline costs.
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FWAERJ
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:36 pm

Indy wrote:
The old terminal was beyond capacity. The security line at the B/C concourse was terrible. Security couldn't reasonably handle the demand of those two concourses. There was absolutely no way to fix it. There was no room for future growth at this terminal. There was no room for new airlines, ticket counters, etc. There wasn't even proper international arrivals. The parking garage was at capacity and no real way to expand it either. While the old terminal was located much closer to downtown, it was painted in a corner. It simply was not designed for modern air traffic. It was dated and had to go.


They could have flipped the food court and the B/C security checkpoint to meet post-9/11 demands so there was a large checkpoint first and a good food court second.

They could have expanded the main parking garage significantly by bulldozing the Radisson Hotel, which was on IAA-owned land and in terrible shape anyway.

They could have built a remote economy garage, then built extensions to the ticketing hall and Concourse A, which could have included FIS as part of the design.

And there are many terminals today that are of the same vintage as IND's old terminal, but have been expanded over the years to meet the needs of modern air traffic. LAX Terminals 3-7, STL's Terminal 1, and many small/midsize airports come to mind.

IND could have stayed the low-cost leader for terminal facilities in the region. They just chose not to.
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flyPIT
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:04 pm

To add to what FWAERJ already stated, they could have even potentially doubled the gates at the old terminal after they closed the original 5/23 runway. There was plenty of room to modernize and expand that terminal.
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enilria
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:43 pm

FWAERJ wrote:
Other airports that competed with IND couldn't compete with their low CPE.

That's key. They would have sucked traffic from a large catchment with the airlines using the low CPE to offer more service.
ATAIndy wrote:
The old one was toast, the gates were full, and you couldn't travel between concourses without leaving security except for B/C

ScottB wrote:
Who realistically needs to travel between concourses at an airport where the traffic is virtually all O&D?

100% agree with ScottB. The need to go between concourses in a secure fashion is the province of hubs, not spokes. You can move the airlines around to make sure their gates aren't split.
Indy wrote:
While the airport does control part of it in terms of lease rates, the airlines control part based on the number of seats they move through on any given day. If you run a handful of RJs through a gate your cost per passenger served will be much higher than if you are using large mainline planes. It becomes a vicious cycle at that point.

You are missing a key and perverse point. Airlines don't want competition. They are perfectly happy to let high costs keep out capacity and jack up prices. Low costs bring in LCCs/ULCCs and other fringe services the feed upon each other and lower fares, while raising demand and leaking traffic from other airports in the region like CVG. You act like airlines want to add capacity, but don't because of their own dumb decisions to run RJs. It's the reverse.
 
ScottB
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:46 pm

Indy wrote:
It would be very short sighted thinking to built a new terminal and not allow people to move between concourses. Why? You cannot predict future airline operations and needs. You cannot predict how future tickets will be sold and how ticketing services may sell tickets that involve flights using multiple airlines where concourse transfers may be needed. It is easier to design something like this into a new terminal and built it with everything else than it is to build it at a later date.


No one argued that the new terminal should have been built with multiple separate sterile areas; rather, the lack of ability to move between concourses without re-clearing security isn't a valid argument for building a new terminal since very few people needed to do that or were even likely to do so in the foreseeable future. Moreover, industry trends have been away from domestic tickets involving multiple marketing carriers for decades, and even those sorts of tickets typically only offer connections at the largest airports.

Indy wrote:
The old terminal was beyond capacity. The security line at the B/C concourse was terrible. Security couldn't reasonably handle the demand of those two concourses. There was absolutely no way to fix it. There was no room for future growth at this terminal. There was no room for new airlines, ticket counters, etc. There wasn't even proper international arrivals. The parking garage was at capacity and no real way to expand it either. While the old terminal was located much closer to downtown, it was painted in a corner. It simply was not designed for modern air traffic. It was dated and had to go.


If the parking garage couldn't have been expanded, there was ample room to build another one on the site of the surface lot which was maybe 100 feet away from the existing garage. The old terminal was indeed over capacity, but that doesn't mean the structure couldn't have been expanded; there was ample room to do so at either end of the terminal building. And there probably would have been room to expand the security checkpoint area for the B/C concourses by using some of the food court/retail real estate.

The real question is whether a more modest project could have expanded the existing terminal; as it stands, the new terminal only has six more gates than the old one did...
 
phluser
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:30 pm

FWAERJ wrote:
IND has way too much service to Orlando/Tampa/Fort Myers and the Northeast - much more than other similar airports.


Does IND have too much service to the Northeast? I'd guess another carrier could compete on say IND-EWR, and B6 and NK could compete in IND, and would likely choose some Northeast routes.
 
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:56 pm

Old terminal had little options in the way of expanding the ticketing and check in areas and space would have been REALLY cramped with all the self serve kiosks.

I do miss the old airport but the new airport is lovely. Getting through security is very easy and it's roomy, nice, bright and clean. Good for them. The new terminal has also played a vital role in securing major sporting events for the city including the Super Bowl and NCAA tournaments. So, the new terminal makes sense.

That being said
- Would have loved to have the observation deck come over with the new terminal build. The old terminal's deck was way cool especially back in the day when ATA was flying L1011's to places like Ft Myers, Los Angeles, etc.

I could eventually see a seasonal to San Diego come in ... on which carrier remains to be seen.

And perhaps a return of Indy to Tampa on Delta Connection.

Wouldn't be surprise to see Allegiant sprinkle in some additions.

And that's probably about all she wrote for the next couple of years
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FWAERJ
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:05 am

phluser wrote:
FWAERJ wrote:
IND has way too much service to Orlando/Tampa/Fort Myers and the Northeast - much more than other similar airports.


Does IND have too much service to the Northeast? I'd guess another carrier could compete on say IND-EWR, and B6 and NK could compete in IND, and would likely choose some Northeast routes.


While IND-EWR has only UA and F9 is leaving IND-PHL, WN has infiltrated IND to LGA (which had an existing DL presence), BOS (DL), and DCA (AA). And WN hasn't been winning over pax from the legacies on any of the three.

I do think, however, that B6 could make IND-BOS work simply because B6 is incredibly strong in BOS.
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:07 am

FWAERJ wrote:
IND could have stayed the low-cost leader for terminal facilities in the region. They just chose not to.


No. It really wasn't a choice. That terminal was not designed to service 7+ million passengers a year. Any money spent on attempting to expand it would have been a massive waste of money. And even if all those things were accomplished that you listed, the concourses themselves were still very inadequate. They were badly over crowded and there was no room to expand retail. Getting with the times and modernizing is a must. Timing was really bad for IND with the financial crisis and the oil price crisis. By the time these problems surfaced there was simply no turning back. The economy has recovered and fuel prices have dropped dramatically. As a result we see a great improvement in IND traffic.
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:18 am

Waiting for WN to start BNA-IND.
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stlgph
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:56 am

Indy wrote:
FWAERJ wrote:
IND could have stayed the low-cost leader for terminal facilities in the region. They just chose not to.


No. It really wasn't a choice. That terminal was not designed to service 7+ million passengers a year. Any money spent on attempting to expand it would have been a massive waste of money. And even if all those things were accomplished that you listed, the concourses themselves were still very inadequate. They were badly over crowded and there was no room to expand retail. Getting with the times and modernizing is a must. Timing was really bad for IND with the financial crisis and the oil price crisis. By the time these problems surfaced there was simply no turning back. The economy has recovered and fuel prices have dropped dramatically. As a result we see a great improvement in IND traffic.


Indianapolis in the 1980's suffered from a huge image problem .... i.e. "India-no-place" and a very long term, very patient plan was put in place to revitalize the city, basically rebuilding many major facilities and making the downtown the center point of the activity for the region with a more than sufficient airport to service the region.

You saw the first steps in the mid to late 1980's with the love given to the Canal Walk. In the mid 1990's the Indianapolis Motor Speedway started hosting the Brickyard 400, then it was Circle Center Mall. In the late 1990's it was the Conseco Field House. Even though it's getting old at this point it still remains a very forward and modern arena, keeping the Pacers happy. It's only drawback is the sight lines for any potential hockey games.

And it goes on and on from there - replacement stadium for RCA Dome, rebuild of downtown buildings, expansion of conference centers, basically giving IUPUI a virtual free pass on whatever they wanted to do and build for expansion, touching up of downtown streets, new residential housing, the push for the I-465 rebuild, the list goes on and on.

A new airport terminal was always on the list as an eventual project and as I mentioned earlier, with all the sports facilities and stadiums coming into play, it was seen as a very vital element to attract major sporting events and conferences to the city. It was going to come in one way or another whether you liked it or not.
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Beatyair
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:39 am

I am not sure about that. If the citizens of you city fly more-more planes and flights show up. If people are not flying, then there is less traffic. Indy does not have another city close by to fly out of.

I am somewhat surprise to see come fairly large cities with mostly regionals fly out of airports with lot of gate and parallel runways - Indy, Pittsburgh, Kansas City.
 
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:47 am

FWAERJ wrote:
If US 31 is turned into a four-lane divided highway from South Bend to Indy (many of the required improvements are already done), I could see IND becoming an alternate for SBN much like ORD and MDW are today.


That project is complete for all practical purposes. The non-limited access portions are limited to stretches that don't encounter any major feed or cross traffic. Whatever is left to be converted isn't going to impact the travel time. If Indy is going to capture traffic from SBN it is happening or there are other conditions separate from 31 preventing it.
 
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:24 am

One thing that should be noted in a holistic conversations especially comparing Indy with other markets is how relativity well Indy is doing. For several years IND has served more passengers than CVG and I believe for the first part of 2016 more than PIT too. Some will argue that is dues to the new facilities and some will argue it has been in spite of it. I believe it was earlier this year where IND was one market where WN substantially increased the number of seats. Had the old terminal still been in use I don't think WN would have had such an opportunity.

Are the increase in fees baked into the fare or are they charged separately when the ticket is purchased. I believe the affects on demand are quite different for the two conditions where separate fees are affecting only travelers at the extreme margin.
 
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Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:49 am

Had the old terminal been around it probably would have been very straight forward -
Southwest in A
United/Air Canada in B
Delta or American in either C or D
Alaska & Allegiant & Frontier would have been sprinkled in with American
OneJet would have gone out of D
Hopefully there would have been a Dunkin Donuts
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
Indy
Posts: 4932
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:37 pm

Re: Is IND Underserved or Overserved?

Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:23 pm

stlgph wrote:
Hopefully there would have been a Dunkin Donuts


Well said :-) I remember flying NW out of the A concourse during the height of their focus operation. It was totally nuts. I wonder how the number of seats WN flies out daily compares with what NW had back in the day.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air

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