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Fort Wayne, you're on vacation: ATA launches service to Chicago Midway.

IT SEEMS THAT PEOPLE IN northwest Indiana just can't wait to get to Florida. When ATA launched service from Fort Wayne International Airport this month, there was no shortage of customers waiting to catch a turboprop to Chicago's Midway Airport, from which many went on to ATA destinations in the Sunshine State.

The new service from the Indianapolis-based, low cost airline followed heavy lobbying by Fort Wayne civic leaders and residents, says Stan Hula, vice president of planning. "There was a push on the part of the community. They even made a 10 minute video for ATA that showed children singing 'come to Fort Wayne' and that sort of thing."

Add to those efforts the wishes of some 2,500 Fort Wayne-area members of Ambassadair, the travel club affiliated with ATA. "They're very frequent ATA users; a lot have condos in Florida," Hula says. They've helped ATA fill up to two-thirds of the seats on its four daily round-trips to Midway thus far, he says. While a small percentage of the Fort Wayne travelers have Chicago as their end destination, "about 85 to 90 percent are people connecting to jets" at ATA's Midway hub, he says--often jets on their way to Florida.

The Fort Wayne flights use ATA's Saab 340B turboprops. "Being a low-cost airline we tend to be very efficient," Hula says, which is why ATA likes using Saabs for the short hops from Indiana to Midway. "The Saab is a modern turboprop, with all leather seats and big overhead bins."
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Comment:Fort Wayne, you're on vacation: ATA launches service to Chicago Midway.
Author:Kaelble, Steve
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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