Project Propel helps boost travel through the South Bend International Airport

A new initiative is underway to invest in regional infrastructure in the Michiana area.

Project Propel was announced last March and it plans to enhance the economies of 47 cities and towns in Northern Indiana and South Western Michigan.

Leaders across the region gathered to discuss the results of Project Propel on Thursday.

The project pushed for private and public businesses to adopt business travel policies that include the South Bend International Airport in the itinerary.

“You cannot be a successful economic region without a connection to the world and airports are at the center of that connection. So it’s very important to us to have a very strong airport which has connections to lots of places around the country,” said Chris Murphy, the Chairman and CEO of 1st Source Bank.

The goal of the project is to help travelers fly into bigger cities and hubs from in South Bend, instead of flying into or out of Chicago, Detroit or Indianapolis.

"The fact that South Bend transitioned from a regional airport to an international airport was a huge impact. That will be something that in the long term will affect not only leisure travel or having opportunities to fly direct to international spots, but could also have that impact on businesses,” said Regina Emberton, President and CEO South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership.

The project has been tested with direct flights to Dallas, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina and has been credited with a nearly twenty percent surge in travel through the South Bend International Airport.

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