Four years ago, Indiana had to offer United Airlines a cash incentive to persuade it to start a nonstop flight from Indianapolis International Airport to San Francisco.
These days, demand for the route is so strong that United is launching its second daily flight from Indy to San Francisco. And this time, nobody has to entice the airline into doing it.
United said it plans to begin offering the new flight Tuesday morning, with a 6 a.m. departure from Indianapolis. The new schedule will now offer nonstop departures from Indianapolis in the early morning and evening.
“This second daily service is a big win, particularly for our business travelers,” Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, said in a written statement. “It further supports the connection between the Indianapolis and Silicon Valley tech communities, and opens the door for more people to travel to the West Coast daily out of Indy for both business and leisure.”
The latest flight gives passengers a third option for Indy-San Francisco flights. Alaska Airlines plans to launch its own nonstop daily flight to San Francisco on Sept. 26.
Gaining convenient year-round air service to San Francisco was a high priority for the local tech industry, but it wasn't clear if Indianapolis could provide enough demand.
When United offered its first flight from Indianapolis to San Francisco starting in 2014, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered United up to a $1.5 million annual backstop to cover any gap between the airline’s revenue and a contracted minimum.
The flights are all now supported by market demand.