Indianapolis, which draws criticism for not offering more nonstop flights to major cities, has removed one complaint from the list.
Southwest Airlines on Sunday launched twice-daily nonstop service between Indianapolis International Airport and Houston Hobby Airport, marking the first direct flights between the two airports.
“Texas is the No. 3 destination state for Indianapolis-area travelers, while Houston offers numerous connecting options for passengers destined for points throughout the South,” said Chris Matney, air service director for the Indianapolis Airport Authority, which oversees airport operations.
Southwest flights will depart daily for Houston at 6:15 a.m. and 4:10 p.m. Daily nonstop flights will depart Houston for Indianapolis at 10:30 a.m. and 8:05 p.m.
Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce officials and local business executives have been clamoring for more nonstop flights for years. Local tech entrepreneur Scott Jones told IBJ earlier this year that, without more direct flights, Indianapolis is “stuck in the mud.”
Last month, Visit Indy officials–along with area convention planners–began making the case for more nonstop flights out of Indianapolis.
“As we’ve grown, it’s opened us up to a larger pool of convention business, but that pool increasingly prefers better air lift than Indianapolis currently has,” said Leonard Hoops, CEO of Visit Indy, the city’s tourism promotional arm.
Many U.S. cities have seen a decline in nonstop flights since 2008 as airlines have merged, jet fuel costs have skyrocketed, and routes have been either consolidated or eliminated. But Indianapolis is at the bottom of the heap compared with many cities of its size.
Airport and other city officials continue to lobby airlines for more nonstop flights, Matney said.
As of Monday, a nonstop roundtrip ticket from Indianapolis to Houston, purchased a week in advance, cost about $800.