South Bend airport receives a $1.3 million grant
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- South Bend International Airport announced today that it received more than a million dollars from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The grant helped fund the new Customs and Border Protection facility which allows international passengers a straight flight to South Bend and also brings money back to the city.
“Prior to building this facility they never could come to South Bend,” said Mike Daigle, executive director of South Bend International Airport.
International flyers would usually make stops at other metropolitan airports just to go through customs.
“An airport coming to the US has to stop at a facility where people can go through the necessary steps to enter the country,” said Daigle.
Now, that’s the facility’s job. Before, when flyers had to stop in other cities to go through customs Daigle said South Bend was losing money.
“They could’ve bought fuel somewhere else,” Daigle said. “They could’ve had meals someplace else, they could’ve stay in a hotel someplace else.”
But Daigle said he hopes with this new facility that that will all change.
“Whether it’s the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, they come here and then they’ll arrive here and spend those additional dollars in our community,” Daigle said.
Daigle said the facility is a dual purpose facility. The general aviation facility which takes care of the customs process is already up and running. While, the other half of the facility, which will be a federal inspection station has some more details that he said still need to be worked out.
Senator Joe Donnelly is a big supporter of this new addition here at the south bend international airport.
He said in a statement that he is proud to support the airport’s efforts to “establish an international terminal and customs facility over the past several years.” Sen. Donnelly added that this “funding is another important step in the airport’s work to support international flights in the future.”