Officials at Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) were able to celebrate a number of successes in 2013. The Airport Authority welcomed new technology that enhances passenger convenience, launched a new direct flight to the southwest and took steps toward enhancing air service options; all while undertaking projects funded by $2.9 million in federal airport improvement grants.
Business travelers were happy to hear that FWA joined the ranks of airports nationwide by equipping a scanner that accepts mobile boarding passes for all Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Allegiant flights. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may now scan an e-boarding pass from a cell phone or tablet via text message, e-mail or an airline’s mobile app, allowing passengers to navigate through the airport and onto their flight with only an electronic device in hand. From most airlines’ mobile apps, passengers may check-in, choose a seat assignment, request an upgrade and add luggage to their reservation.
In the summer of 2013, the Airport Authority teamed up with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to garner travel information from companies whose people frequently fly. The Business Travel Survey was used to collect responses from 353 area residents and revealed that an eastbound destination was the top-requested among respondents. Lucky for those travelers, the Airport Authority was also awarded a $600,000 grant following the survey to pursue an eastbound hub destination. In 2014, the Authority will continue negotiations with all airlines to enhance air service options from the Fort Wayne region for both business and leisure passengers.
Speaking of enhancements, next on the success list is Allegiant’s addition of a new flight to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, which began in October 2013. The flight operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays using 156-seat Airbus A319 aircraft. Phoenix/Mesa joins four other vacation destinations offered by Allegiant from FWA: Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda, Orlando/Sanford, Tampa/St. Pete and seasonal summer service to Myrtle Beach.
While new destinations are always welcome, FWA’s true success in 2013 lies in its passenger traffic. It increased more than 2 percent in 2012 and as of October 2013, had increased an additional 4 percent year-to-date. While final passenger counts for the year were not available at the time of this writing, the airport is surely on track for another successful year.
Last year marked the service anniversaries of FWA’s three legacy airlines – American (40th anniversary), Delta (60th anniversary), and United (65th anniversary) – a feat few airports can tout in the current state of the airline industry. In the New Year, the Airport Authority is prepared to keep the positive momentum going at FWA. So 2014, here we come.