South Bend's airport is undergoing a significant change to prepare for an anticipated increase in international passengers. It is becoming South Bend International and officials believe up to 40,000 out-of-country travelers could eventually go through the facility. Multi-million dollar plans call for a new general aviation building and federal inspection station. Executive Director Mike Daigle says interest is growing for flights to Mexico, the Bahamas and Ireland. April 23, 2014
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – St. Joseph County Airport Authority Board President Tom Botkin announced today that South Bend Airport (SBN) is becoming South Bend International. The Airport team, in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is working to build two distinct facilities; a General Aviation Facility and a Federal Inspection Station. Both of these facilities are under design with construction expected to begin within a few months. The project will be paid for with a combination of federal, state and airport funds.
A review of travel patterns show that within a few short years, there could be in excess of 30,000 to 40,000 international travelers beginning and ending their trip from South Bend International. Initial conversations with airlines have resulted in expressed interest in serving South Bend to Mexico and the Bahamas. The economic impact of this additional new traffic could be in excess of $100 million dollars annually to the regional community.
“While we will continue to speak with airlines regarding domestic air service development, industry experts will tell you the growth is in international travel,” said SBN Executive Director Mike Daigle. “This announcement has been over 18 months in the making and I’m thrilled to finally be able to share the good news with our community.”
St. Joseph County Airport officials thank Governor Pence; Senator Donnelly; Congresswoman Walorski; Congressman Upton; State Senators Arnold, Broden, Zakas and Mishler; State Representative Niezgodski; County Board of Commissioners President Kostielney; County Commissioners Thomas and McClure; Mayors Buttigieg and Moore; as well as countless business leaders in our region for supporting the application to CBP.
Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners President Andy Kostielney, South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neal, Mishawaka Mayor David Wood and St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea all took part in the announcement that took place at the Airport this morning.
About South Bend International
South Bend International's three air carriers provide nonstop flights to nine cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, and Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg with connections world-wide. South Bend International's multi-modal terminal serves over one million air, rail and bus passengers each year. According to the 2012 Economic Impact Report from the Aviation Authority of Indiana, South Bend International's total annual economic impact on South Bend and surrounding communities was in excess of $1.7 billion.
For additional information, please refer to www.FlySBN.com or get social with SBN on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FlySBN) and Twitter (@SBNairport) and stay informed about the airport and the carriers that serve the Michiana region.
Source: St. Joseph County Airport Authority