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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Some Passengers the Fort Wayne Airport Can't Lure Back

The Board of the Fort Wayne Airport Authority just voted on a new initiative to lure lost airline passenger travel back to Fort Wayne. It involves giving passenger airlines an incentive to lower fares and increase the number of passengers using Fort Wayne International Airport.

Studies show that a large percentage of northeastern Indiana flyers drive to other airports such as Indianapolis to obtain lower fares and better connections.

However, there is one class of "passengers" that the airline can't lure back with this incentive program - the dead ones.

Fort Wayne area residents who die some distance from Fort Wayne - say Florida - most often have to be flown into Dayton or Indianapolis rather than Fort Wayne.

There are two reasons for this. One is that there are fewer large jets flying into Fort Wayne. Caskets cannot be accomodated in the freight holds of smaller aircraft. The main reason, though, is the collapse of the traditional "hub-and-spoke" system for air carriers. Caskets or shipping containers cannot be accomodated in the freight holds of smaller aircraft.

This means that area funeral directors need to drive to distant airports to transport the remains back to northeastern Indiana. This adds to expense and can also delay when families may wish to schedule calling hours and service times.

I have done the math in my head on at least 10 different occasions where FWA ended up being cheaper than Indy, even if the FWA tickets were $150-$200 more expensive. The fact I have many family/friends here that can drop me off at FWA automatically saves me a minimum of $50 in parking and lord knows how much in gas, food etc. Then by the time you take into consideration the extra 4 hours of frivelous travel...it starts to really bring the negligible cost savings into focus. I've flown out of FWA well over 100 times and out of Indy MAYBE 20 times...I'd rather not fly out of Indy any more at all to be quite honest w/ you.
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