Fort Wayne Airport Traffic Up, Projected 2011 Budget Down

By John W. Davis

August 16, 2010 Updated Aug 16, 2010 at 10:53 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne International Airport leaders are preparing the 2011 operating budget for takeoff.

Indiana's NewsCenter has learned more people are flying to and from Fort Wayne in 2010.

However, Indiana's NewsCenter has also learned that the 2011 operating budget will see some cuts.

But if passengers are up, shouldn't the budget be up as well.

Airport officials said the 2010 budget was around $20 million dollars.

The 2011 budget was introduced Monday by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority Board.

Next year's budget is projected to be a bit lower than the current budget because of dwindling federal aviation grants.

Airport officials said grants play a big part in operational funding and fluctuate every year anywhere from 5% to 15%.

However, total passengers are up 2% and flight capacity is tracking between 80% to 85%.

Historically, Fort Wayne flights average 60% capacity.

Indiana's NewsCenter has learned that "fair disparity," which is the difference in price a customer pays to fly out of Fort Wayne compared to Indianapolis, is shrinking.

According to the Department of Transportation, Spring 2010 data showed Fort Wayne flights only cost $38 more dollars than Indianapolis flights.

However, until the overall aviation economy improves, experts do not think airlines will add additional Fort Wayne flights or drastically lower fares.

Meanwhile, Fort Wayne Allen County Airport Authority Executive Director of Airports Tory Richardson is raising concerns of an "immediate issue."

Richardson said the FWIA is against the proposed Coyote Flats Landfill.

He said it would be located about two miles away from a busy military, commercial and general aviation runway.

"Our concern is that it is so close to the end of the runway and it is documented through the federal land regulations as an incompatible land use for airports to be within six miles, so having it two miles is even more concerning," said Fort Wayne Allen County Airport Authority Executive Director of Airports Tory Richardson.

Airport officials believe the landfill would attract more birds to the area, causing an immediate threat to flight safety.

The public is invited to hear a detailed presentation of the FWIA 2011 budget on Monday, September 27 at 2 p.m.

The public hearing will be held in the Board Room at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, Suite 210, 3801 W. Ferguson Road, (Fort Wayne International Airport), Fort Wayne, Indiana 46809.

A final vote approving the 2011 budget is expected to take place on Monday, October 18 at the Fort Wayne International Airport.

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