South Bend International Airport planning for new developments

NOW: South Bend International Airport planning for new developments

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Bend International Airport was looking to get community input to help develop a new master plan, aimed at making improvements to the airport.

The second and final open house took place Tuesday afternoon, informing the public about possible plans and seeking community feedback.

The airport still working to recover from the pandemic, on average seeing more than 2,000 passengers through its doors daily. On top of being a key component to the region’s tourist industry officials are still looking to make improvements to support the airport’s growth.

“Some of the feedback that we had received at the last public meeting really was that people love the facility. People like where it is, they like so many great things about it. So, what we took from that was you know was how do we grow?” said Mike Daigle the CEO & Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Airport Authority.

A master plan is completed every 20 years to help guide infrastructure and growth. The first phase of the last master plan got underway back 2002 bringing improvements to the runway, parking lots, and a new 45,000-square-foot concourse expansion.

Daigle said Tuesday’s meeting is to help continue growth like this.

“Whether that means we are going to create a new location on the airport for the next generation air craft, electric pilot air craft. That seems to be growing and we know that it’s in our future at some point so we are trying to identify a spot that makes sense…” explained Daigle.

On top of looking ahead to future technology the airport is already thinking about things like further extending runways, more concourse expansion, and other improvements that will help drive up business.

“So we’re looking at what’s our runway length and what’s the limitations that come with that and so if we’re looking at business growth, if we’re looking at cargo development because the largest growing segment of aviation continues to be cargo. So, what does that look like? What facilities do we need? What assets do we not have and how do we get them done?” added Daigle.

Airport officials said comments and suggestions received during Tuesday’s open house and the first one back in June will be looked at and incorporated into their final project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the 2021.

Daigle added once the final decisions are made and things like funding and other factors are hashed out, new developments could start coming over the course of the next few years.

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