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County weighs air board donation

$150,000 to lure East Coast flights

– The Allen County commissioners will consider a $150,000 contribution agreement with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, part of an incentive to provide direct flights to an East Coast travel hub.

Airport officials are confident American Airlines flights to Philadelphia – two a day, seven days a week beginning Oct. 2 – will be used, said Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports.

The incentive means a minimum revenue guarantee is in place in case flight traffic is not as expected, he said.

The county and five other entities have made a monetary pledge to a revenue-guarantee pool of $2 million, out of which payments would be made to American Airlines any time during the next two years if revenue expectations are not met.

“There will be some risk at first, but we have, for some time, been monitoring the region, and there are people to support these flights,” Hinderman said. “We expect the flights to be supported and successful.”

In addition to Allen County, other regional partners that contributed to the economic development incentive included:

•U.S. Department of Transportation – $600,000

•Fort Wayne – $600,000

•Greater Fort Wayne Inc./Airport Authority – $500,000

•Indiana Economic Development Corp. – $100,000

•NE Indiana Regional Partnership – $50,000

Currently, there are no direct flights to the Eastern business region, Hinderman said.

“They must book a connecting flight or get in their car and drive to another location where a direct flight is available,” he said.

US Airways Express will offer a daily fight to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina in October, although it is not included in the revenue-guarantee agreement, Hinderman said.

The new direct flights will give Fort Wayne International Airport a 22 percent increase in flights and a 24 percent increase in seats compared with last October, he said.

The commissioners will vote on the agreement at 10 a.m. Friday in the lower-level courtroom of Citizens Square, 200 W. Berry St.