posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 03:35 AM
I had posted a rant about this subject on our local news paper website. I mentioned who I spoke with and left a a less than favorable review about
the job they were doing. Here is a reply someone left. I suspect it is one of the people I spoke with or an airport authority staff member.
"It is first necessary to separate the airline industry from the airports themselves. While the financial stability of the airlines is extremely
volatile due to intense competition, varying passenger demand, and the rising costs of fuel, the income to airports is relatively stable and
consistent. Airports derive their revenue from the airliners that pay for rental space and landing fees, parking fees, concessions fees, and the
surcharge that passengers themselves pay for using the airport. As long as the passenger demand is there, and to the only major airport serving a
major metropolitan area it has to be, the revenue will be there. Airports pride themselves on not using taxpayer dollars, so instead, they issue bonds
to fund these massive capital improvement projects.
While the 1 billion dollar price tag may at first seem excessive, it is essential to understand the entire scope of this project. It encompasses a new
entrance to the airport from I-70, control tower, parking including a new parking garage, support for landside and airside operations, and a new
midfield terminal. From the passenger standpoint, the entire airport experience will be new. The midfield terminal has been in the master plan of the
airport since the early 1970s, and since this is the culmination of that plan, it is good that this project is expanding.
It is true that a forty gate terminal may be inadequate for our needs. However, due to the relocation of the terminal to a site between the main
runways, it will be more capable of expanding to meet future needs than the existing terminal. When you study airport expansion, you realize that
these airports were initially designed a very long time ago, and the subsequent expansions and alterations were made to accommodate the current
airports design and while maintaining current airport operations. Yet here in Indianapolis, we have the opportunity to build practically an entire new
airport. This new airport will afford us an unprecedented opportunity to realize efficiency into the design, rather than sheer size, at least here in
the United States.
One has to look beyond North America to find examples of recent airport projects of this scale, because since 9/11, there hasn’t been any. South
Korea's Incheon International Airport is one, and China's Guangzhou-Baiyun International Airport is another. Both of these multi-billion dollar
airport projects have been built in the initial design phase of under 46 gates, but their infrastructure and efficiency of design allows them to
accommodate 25 million and 30 million passengers, respectively. Additionally, while Indianapolis ranked 46th in terms of passenger boarding , 28th
placed Chicago Midway and 32nd placed Washington National does it with only 45 gates, respectively. How big can an airport be built, and is building
big really good design? Is multiple terminals and underground tunnels with the mandatory neon light and sound show really what we want?
This is our one chance to build an airport for the future, our one chance to build an airport that can compete on a global scale. In the United
States, destination airports such as 30th ranked Tampa with 54 gates are consistently judged the best in the nation, far above massive international
hubs with a hundred gates plus. Make no mistake about it, the world will be watching. This will be the first new airport terminal to be built in
America after 9/11, when practically every aspect of modern aviation changed. This will be the first terminal to incorporate new security requirements
into the initial design, instead of SUV sized baggage scanning equipment hastily placed in valuable public circulation space, and to incorporate new
technology, such as common-use self service kiosks.
I hold firm to the belief that not being a hub for one particular airline is an asset to Indianapolis International, and that strong passenger growth
driven by low fares due to diverse airline competition in this market will foster long term growth. Additional growth for the airport will come in the
form of air cargo. Unlike passenger air travel, air cargo has seen steady and substantial growth over the past few years from companies like Fed-Ex.
Fed-Ex has a strong corporate strategy and vision, and I feel that their growth here is inevitable. The city of Indianapolis has a rich history of
being a transportation center for the nation. From the early 19th century railway hub of Union Station, to today as Indiana's interstate highway
system being known as the "Crossroads of America", we have a legacy of our own to uphold."