Readers will recall that the new 1.1 billion dollar terminal in Indianapolis was given as an example of what KC could hope for with a new single-terminal. Readers will also recall that we pointed out Indy’s new terminal did not deliver the hoped-for boost in air traffic. Instead, they lost flights and airfares increased.
Today, I heard an interesting story from my barber. She and her sister are going on vacation together in New Orleans. Her sister lives in Indianapolis so I assumed they were meeting in Louisiana. Wrong. She is driving here and they are flying there together but not because they like to share airplane rides. KC has non-stop service to New Orleans. Indianapolis does not. Moreover, the non-stop from KC was much cheaper. Cheap enough she said, to pay for the gas from Indy and for a couple of dinners in the Crescent City.
As much as I wanted to believe her, I was skeptical – until I confirmed it myself online. Looking at an 8/31 departure I found a non-stop from KC to New Orleans for $226. The best fare from Indy was $365 with a layover in Houston. Yes, KC is 40% less and a non-stop. (Even a one-stop from KC through Dallas is cheaper – $242) Oh, and before those who are geographically challenged chime in and say that it’s based on distance and Indy must be farther from New Orleans… Indy is 25 miles closer.
As of today, KCI offers non-stop flights to 45 cities throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Indy offers 32. And KCI has lower airfares in part because the airlines are not helping pay for a new terminal.
Perhaps our EDC folks should stop in Indy on their way back from Baltimore and sell the merits of KCI to Indy businesses as well.
Meanwhile, someone explain to me again why Indy should be a model for KCI. How does that old ad slogan go… “Only your hair dresser knows for sure.”
Thanks for your comment. I did not say that they lost flights because they built a new terminal. I said they lost flights in spite of building a new terminal.
One of the initial claims from proponants of a new KCI terminal was that it would attract more flights. We cited Indy and Cincy, as you also noted, as examples proving that airlines and market forces determine who flies where, not who has the nicest terminal.
Thanks again for adding to the conversation.
Indy did not lose air traffic and nonstop flights because it built it’s new terminal. It lost it’s Northwest Airlines focus city hub when northwest and Delta merged. That’s why it lost many non-stops. Delta of course assured Indy it wouldn’t gut Northwest’s schedule,which of course it did 8 months later. Delta did the same thing to Cincy. It’s actually cheaper for the airlines to operate here now. And yes, IND is a spectacular airport.