HOLT: Regional airports can fuel economic development (full article)
By: David Holt, Vice President of Operations and Business Development, Conexus Indiana
Posted: December 4, 2010
A strong network of airports, unrivaled interstate access, a pro-business tax climate and central geography have made Indiana an attractive destination for logistics firms and positioned the state as a global logistics leader. We've got a lot going for us, but continued growth depends on strategic investment by both the public and private sectors, and developing plans to leverage Indiana's logistical advantages.
As leaders from Indiana's top logistics firms look to capitalize on emerging opportunities in this industry, positioning Indiana's airports as lower-cost alternatives to other cities is a key economic development strategy.
Indiana has four airports (Fort Wayne International Airport, Grissom Air Force Base, Indianapolis International Airport and Louisville International Airport) with 11,900 feet or more of runway, and has aviation facilities strategically located throughout the state. Indianapolis International is the sixth-largest cargo airport in the country and boasts the second-largest FedEx hub, and Fort Wayne International Airport also ranks in the top 125.
Yet, several of the state's smaller regional airports have excess air cargo capacity, providing an opportunity for Indiana companies to save significant time and money by moving products through them instead of busier hubs like Chicago and St. Louis.
Indiana currently ranks seventh among eight Midwestern states in terms of air transport as a share of transportation and warehousing gross domestic product. If we can develop a plan to bring more goods to Indiana's runways, it will provide a significant advantage to local logistics firms-which will ultimately lead to new jobs for Hoosiers, boosting the state's economy.