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Michiana residents are one stop away from the rest of the world. On Thursday, South Bend International Airport celebrated the inaugural flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth and Charlotte, North Carolina.
SBN Executive Director Mike Daigle said the rekindled partnership with American Airlines has been in the making for the past 3.5 years. He touts the $20 million economic impact that is expected to amount with the flights to two of the busiest hubs in the United States.
"We now have companies that would not relocate or locate businesses in the South Bend, southwest Michigan, north central Indiana region, and now they will because now they can connect back to their headquarters maybe in Dallas-Fort Worth or in Charlotte," explained Daigle.
In a close-knit society, the service to and from the new destinations makes sense, said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
"We live in a moment where growth depends on connectivity," he said.
Notre Dame alum Kristen Stoutenburgh marked June 7 on her calendar soon after SBN announced American Airlines' return to Michiana. She was a passenger on the maiden voyage from Texas.
"Now this makes my life so much easier to connect me to Notre Dame, my family, and my best friend!" exclaimed Stoutenburgh, who also works in marketing for American Airlines.
Local filmmaker Lucas Miles lounged near the American Airlines gate before the first-ever departure to Dallas Fort-Worth. He's in an airport usually every week.
"Although the (South Bend flight to Dallas) might be a little more expensive than going to Chicago, the time that it saves was worth it for me to consider flying here directly from South Bend," he stated.
Daigle, the airport's executive director, said more competition (e.g. additional destinations served) theoretically means lower airfares. However, he said prices vary, depending on the destination and the location of a seat on the plane. Other cost factors include how soon -- or far -- in advance a passenger purchases a ticket.
Corporate Wings, which won the bid to service the American Airlines flights, has doubled its staff in Michiana to 16 people.
According to the airport, American Eagle will operate the flights on a regional jet that seats 65 people in the cabin. Flights will leave each day from SBN to Dallas-Fort Worth at 6:48 a.m and 1:55 p.m. DFW planes will arrive at SBN daily at 1:23 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
SBN flights to Charlotte depart daily at 8:05 a.m. and 5:14 p.m. They return to South Bend each day at 11:30 a.m. and 7:55 p.m.
Original Article from WNDU.com