South Bend Airport Eyes International Nonstops

Posted: Updated:
(Image courtesy of South Bend International Airport.) (Image courtesy of South Bend International Airport.)

South Bend International Airport has launched efforts to secure something it has never offered: a nonstop international flight. Executive Director Mike Daigle says the next steps involve working with federal regulators, travel professionals and carriers to zero in on the right targets. Right now, Indianapolis International Airport is the only airport in the state to offer commercial nonstop international service. The process in South Bend, Daigle says, began when a $9 million General Aviation Facility and Federal Inspection Station became fully-operational.

Daigle said SBN officials took into account the footprint of other airports -- such as O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Indianapolis International -- prior to constructing the globally-focused facilities. The investment, Daigle believes, has already paid off in the form of corporate and general aviation traffic from Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Japan and Brazil. "What that means is, they didn't have to stop some place else in the country to enter the United States as a first point of entry," he said, and the hotel, travel, dining and business expenditures that had gone to other cities are now staying in South Bend. Gary-Chicago International Airport is currently moving forward on a General Aviation Customs and Border Patrol facility.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Daigle explained the journey for additional air service varies for each airport. "One of the things you have to do is you have to show there's a market demand for it," he said. "Once we do that and we identify what that looks like, then you go out and you start talking and knocking on doors and having conversations with people about why they should be serving your community."

Daigle says it would be unfair to pin a timeline on the full process and time and research will tell which routes will be the focus. Early on, he says some potential destinations stand out. "We believe that -- especially during the winter months -- a couple times a week having flights available for people to go to places like Cancun, Mexico would do well," he said. "We've also looked at what airports and communities would it make sense for us to go for business travel. We've identified Toronto as a very likely location for business travelers, because of the business connection between Canada and the United States and, specifically, Canada and the state of Indiana."

In mid-January, American Airlines announced its return to SBN with twice-daily nonstops to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport. No timeline has been set for when international nonstop announcements could be made, as Daigle says conversations must continue with all parties. At this point, he adds "we don't have any guarantees from anybody."

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, SBN Executive Director Mike Daigle explained the journey for additional air service varies for each airport.
  • Perspectives

    • Big Data's Role in Site Selection

      In the world of site selection, companies assess the pros and cons of various factors to identify the location that best fits their current and future business needs. The list may seem endless: labor availability, utility needs and costs, real estate options, tax climate, incentives, quality-of-life considerations, even an area’s weather patterns and the likelihood of natural disasters. With the emergence of big data and the use of data analytics in all facets of business...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • CIB OKs $120M Convention Center Expansion, Two Hotels

      The Capital Improvement Board of Directors in Indianapolis, Visit Indy and Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE: KRG) have unveiled $120 million plans to expand the Indiana Convention Center and add 1,400 rooms. The proposal, approved Friday morning by the CIB, involves two new hotels, including a 38-story property, and extending the convention facilities to the current Pan Am Plaza site. In January, the CIB released a request for interest for a convention center...

    • $25M Behavioral Hospital Coming to Central Indiana

      Danville-based Hendricks Regional Health is partnering with US HealthVest to develop a stand-alone behavioral center on the Hendricks campus in Plainfield. Known as the Indianapolis Behavioral Hospital, the facility will provide specialized inpatient and outpatient mental health care to patients of all ages.

    • 'Heartbreaking' End For Nashville House

      The 91-year-old Nashville House restaurant is closing. The Brown County family dining staple will serve its last meal at the end of the month. In a post on Facebook, Gina Sarah Rogers, daughter of late-owners Andy and Fran Rogers, said it is "the end of an era and very heartbreaking." The restaurant is known for its country-style fried chicken and ham meals. Business on the property dates back to the late-1860s when an inn opened. It was acquired in...

    • Demand Fuels $120M Convention Expansion, Hotel Plans

      A $120 million proposal to expand the Indiana Convention Center and build two hotels at Pan Am Plaza in downtown Indianapolis, the city's travel and tourism association says, will put Indy in play for a bigger share of the lucrative convention business. Visit Indy Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hoops says the plans, which include 1,400 new rooms in two Hilton-branded hotels -- one of which will rise 38 stories -- and 300,000 square feet of convention and ballroom space, will help...

    • DowDuPont Paints Picture of Ag Spin-Out

      Michigan-based DowDuPont Inc. is providing a detailed look at the scope of its agriculture spin-out Corteva Agriscience. The independent company, which will have a significant presence in Indianapolis, will be made up of a combination of Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Crop Protection. The spin is expected to take place June 1. In a notice to shareholders included in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, CEO James Collins said...