The executive director of the Indianapolis International Airport Authority says a new daily nonstop to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has wide implications for the airport and the Hoosier business community. Mario Rodriguez says the agreement secures Alaska Airlines as the newest carrier in Indianapolis, sending travelers to a tech-rich destination that has not been served well by the state’s largest airport. He says Alaska Airlines "is not starting service here for just one destination."
Rodriguez tells Inside INdiana Business landing another airline, much less a new flight, takes a "very, very long process." He said that process includes a team of stakeholders outside the walls of the airport, including local tech industry executives, the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the city of Indianapolis, Visit Indy and the Indy Chamber.
During an interview in February on Inside INdiana Business Television, Rodriguez said a nonstop to Seattle was close to being finalized. Rodriguez says more nonstops now fly from Indy than any other time in the last decade. The total is now up to 43 and Rodriguez says officials are targeting more destinations domestically and abroad. One major push is for a nonstop from Indianapolis to London Heathrow International Airport. He says those discussions are still going and "might take a little longer than we expected" because of the vote by citizens of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
Already this year, IND has announced new nonstops to cities including Philadelphia and Savannah.
The flights to Sea-Tac will begin next spring on a Boeing 737. The announcement also included a new nonstop between Seattle and Wichita. Alaska Airlines Vice President of Capacity Planning John Kirby says "we continue to add more destinations from our hometown. With the addition of nonstop service to Indianapolis and Wichita, Alaska Airlines now offers nonstop service to a total of 89 cities from Seattle – more than twice as many as any other airline."
Rodriguez also says more airlines at the airport mean more competition, which could drive down prices. He says the average cost of a flight from Indianapolis has dipped 8 percent over the last quarter.