The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is joining Governor Eric Holcomb in pushing for $10 million in a new state budget to help secure nonstop service from Indianapolis to Europe. Chamber Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar says the money could support carriers that would provide the service until the flight became self-sustaining. He says only a small amount of similar funding was needed to help attract nonstop service to San Francisco.
The money would provide a revenue guarantee to an airline until a flight drew enough passengers to sustain itself. He says the state used "very little" money appropriated for the San Francisco flight because "passenger counts took off very rapidly."
Brinegar says London is such an important destination because it is "the gateway to the rest of Europe." He says several London-based companies that operate in Indiana would also benefit. Despite competing priorities for state money, including infrastructure improvements and expanded state-funded pre-k education, Brinegar says he is "reasonably confident" that lawmakers will approve some funding to help attract the high-profile flight.
London has long been a target for Indianapolis International Airport. In 2015, Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez told Inside INdiana Business that the airport had started conversations with airline partners for a direct flight into London Heathrow.
In March, the airport announced new daily service to San Francisco through Alaska Airlines. That came days after Frontier Airlines added a Las Vegas nonstop, and months after Alaska Airlines announced new nonstop service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Airport leaders say IND serves an average of 143 flights per day and has a total of 46 nonstop destinations.
Brinegar says he is “reasonably confident” some funding will be approved.