The president of Gary Jet Center says the new $3 million Corporate Flight Center is the final step in the effort to attract more corporate travelers heading to the downtown Chicago market. Lynn Eplawy says the facility is not only important for Gary Jet Center’s growth, but will also help change the perception of the Gary/Chicago International Airport and the region.
Gary Jet Center opened the facility this week at its Fixed Base Operation at the airport. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Eplawy said they can now accommodate any aircraft and will continue to grow.
"There are 14 Chicagoland airports. Two of them have commercial air traffic, so we need to continue to talk about the growth and the growth potential for the corporate and private and general aviation markets," said Eplawy. "So this facility attracts more of that market share and continues to pull more of that market share from all of those other airports but specifically Midway as we compete for that downtown Chicago traveler."
Eplawy says the Corporate Flight Center gives them a new level confidence to go after more targeted markets, such as sports and entertainment. She adds one of the challenges in attracting new travelers is having to explain who they are.
"You cross the state line, people still have that challenge but when they see this facility, they understand the length of our runway, the amount of hangar space we have, the amount of ramp space we have and the fact that you’re not sitting behind 20 commercial airliners before you get to take off really cements us in the ability to go out and sell and continue to pull those corporate travelers here to the Gary/Chicago International Airport."
Karen Lauerman, chief executive officer of the Lake County Economic Alliance, says the commitment from Gary Jet Center "further sets the stage when attracting companies and jobs to our area."
Eplawy says they can now accommodate any aircraft and will continue to grow.