What's Behind Indy Airport Records?

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Indianapolis International Airport Executive Director Mario Rodriguez is pictured at the podium near Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017. Indianapolis International Airport Executive Director Mario Rodriguez is pictured at the podium near Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017.

The executive director of Indianapolis International Airport says a 2017 passenger traffic record was driven by the economy and prosperity in the community. "The community is doing well, the economy is doing fantastic," Mario Rodriguez told Inside INdiana Business, "what was happening in the past is that they (customers) were a wee bit underserved." To capitalize over the last three-plus years, Rodriguez says IND has stepped up marketing efforts and delivered on what travelers want: more options, particularly nonstop routes and with more affordable carriers.

"You can't market something that doesn't exist," he says. "Now service is coming in to passengers that wanted direct, nonstop service and we were able to market the ability to different airlines to capture that group of passengers that needed that nonstop destination." Rodriguez says low-cost airlines like Allegiant create more choices for travelers that previously drove to their destinations.

Rodriguez says the high travel figures are sustainable, and despite the ups and downs of the economy, he is confident factors like the growing tech sector will help drive traffic to West Coast destinations. "In the aviation industry right now, it's gone from a luxury to a necessity, in most cases. And it's gone to a cost-feasible necessity, so regardless of the economy, there will be continuous growth long-term in this industry and probably long-term here," he said.

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