Republic asks FAA for more capacity on Washington, D.C., flights

September 8, 2012

Odds are if you book a nonstop flight from Indianapolis International Airport to Reagan National Airport, in Washington, D.C., it will be aboard a Republic Airways Holdings jet with at least 69 seats.

But one of the five daily flights Republic operates for U.S. Airways is a 50-seat Embraer 145. It’s a cramped 90-minute flight—and there are no first-class seats.

To the finicky business traveler, it’s like winding up with a Corolla rental car rather than a Camry.

Indianapolis-based Republic has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for permission to swap the 50-seat Embraer operated by its Chautauqua Airlines unit with a 69-seat Embraer 170 operated by its Republic Airlines unit.

The Republic Airways Holdings units fly the planes under the U.S. Airways Express flag.

Republic also asked the DOT for permission to upsize to larger planes on routes between Columbus, Ohio, and Reagan. If approved, Republic would operate 27,000 additional annual seats between the two Midwest cities and Washington, D.C.

At the same time, Republic wants the flexibility to put the 50-seat planes back in service “as market demand warrants,” such as during off-peak weekend flights.

• Indianapolis International Airport generates more than $56.5 million in annual tax revenue that flows into state and local government coffers, according to a recent study by accounting and advisory firm BKD.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority was quick to tout the numbers, generated as part of a national study of airports.

The news is likely to irritate Decatur Township residents who regularly complain that the airport crimps the township tax base. The airport is a municipal entity exempt from paying property taxes. What generates the tax revenue is airport-dependent businesses such as car rental companies and logistics firms that generate taxes.

“The study did not include the additional tax revenue generated by the Indianapolis Airport Authority’s significant capital and operating expenditures nor the multiplier effect created by the investments of the IAA and associated businesses,” the authority said.•


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