Airport Close on High-Profile Nonstop

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INDIANAPOLIS -

With 44 nonstop flights, Indianapolis International Airport now has more nonstops than at any time in the past decade. And that number is about to grow. “Expect a Seattle announcement very soon," said airport Executive Director Mario Rodriguez, who adds the airport is eyeing additional nonstop service in the U.S. and beyond in the coming months.

Already this year, the airport has announced new nonstop service to Philadelphia and Savannah. Airport executives also say the successes of a United Airlines nonstop to San Francisco, which launched about two years ago, could lead to a second nonstop to the West Coast city.

The quest for more nonstop flights is not limited to domestic destinations.

In an interview on this weekend's edition of Inside INdiana Business Television, the airport's Senior Director of Commercial Enterprise Marsha Stone said an "aggressive push" for a nonstop from Indianapolis to London's Heathrow Airport is beginning to take shape.

Stone says the airport has put together a partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Visit Indy, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indy Chamber to help with the pitch.

"Getting the business community behind this is key," said Stone, who emphasized there is competition for the route. "You look at communities like Cincinnati, St. Louis, Nashville and Cleveland and we are in an upper echelon of cities being considered," said Stone. "This is about us showing that the community needs this and that's what we're hearing from the business community."

The process to land transatlantic service is likely at least an 18-month process, but Stone says it could yield enormous dividends. "London is a hub that then opens up the rest of Europe and beyond for flights."

Also during the interview, Rodriguez addressed the sudden delay of a vote by the airport board on a proposed $500 million global brain health center and sports and entertainment development at the former Indy airport site. "It is my understanding this is a delay," said Rodriguez, who says it "give us more time to hear some of the community’s comments."

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