Indianapolis airport saw record-setting traffic in 2023

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Indianapolis International Airport welcomed an airport-record 9.7 million passengers through its terminal in 2023, which surpassed pre-pandemic numbers.

The airport’s traffic marked a 2.6% increase from 2019, its previous record year at 9.5 million, and a 12.6% increase from 2022. About 52% of the traffic in 2024 was associated with leisure travel and 46% with business; the remaining 2% was from passengers identifying their trips as a blend of the two categories.

Indianapolis’ recovery from the pandemic—meaning how its traffic compares to pre-COVID levels—now stands at 102%, according to Indianapolis Airport Authority officials. Other similarly sized airports in the Midwest average around 96% recovered when compared to figures from 2019, Indianapolis officials said.

In addition to overall record numbers, the airport saw nine of its 10 busiest days on record in 2023; the exception was Monday, Feb. 6, 2012—the day after Indianapolis hosted Super Bowl XLVI, which remains the busiest day ever for the airport.

Seven of those Top 10 days stemmed from travel associated with fall break, with more than 950,000 passengers flying through Indianapolis in October. Fall break travel was also nearly 9% higher than travel for spring break. The other top travel days came during Memorial Day weekend, when the Indianapolis 500 is staged, as well as July 23, when Indy hosted the Delta Sigma Theta National Convention.

The airport’s total number of flights increased by 7.9% in 2023, while airline seat capacity increased by 16.5%, which is largely attributed to more routes and larger planes.

“There’s a confidence in the market here, a confidence in our economy,” said Marsha Wurster, senior director of commercial enterprise for the Indianapolis Airport Authority. That means as the airlines evaluate where to put more flights or bigger planes, they have confidence that customers in Indianapolis will take advantage of the additional capacity.

The airport served 47 nonstop destinations in 2023 and added or resumed several flights, including Frontier routes to Phoenix and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Southwest Airlines routes to Kansas City and San Diego. Delta Air Lines will resume flights to Salt Lake City on March 10.

Wurster said the data from 2023 will bolster the airport’s efforts to secure additional domestic and international flights in the coming months. The airport in recent years has sought to bring back a trans-Atlantic flight after a route to Paris was discontinued during the pandemic.

“They have a greater sense of their ability to profitably operate here,” she said of airlines’ interest in growing in Indianapolis. “And they have shown … that by bringing even more seat capacity to us and more flight opportunities for the first six months of 2024.”

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10 thoughts on “Indianapolis airport saw record-setting traffic in 2023

  1. Almost weekly traveler here and the airport has done exceptional job in dealing with the expanse in travel. Friendly TSA, helping IAA individuals, dynamic decorations (Indy 500, basketball, Irish Tap Dance). The new TSA baggage automation is extremely painful and a bottleneck but will always choose safety over the extra 2 or 3 min this new technology has added. Parking seems to be lagging to keep up with the extra travelers but obvi a fix is on the way. IAA provides pretty real-time parking availability via the website and so limited parking surprises should occur. Good praise for the leadership and employees.

  2. Frequent traveler and our TSA friends in Indy are the best of any airport we have traveled to in terms of being friendly and helpful.
    The TSA Cares program for individuals and families with special needs is executed well in Indy. Airport is clean, efficient and has a welcoming staff.

  3. Only wish that we had the vision to install a train that ran direct from downtown to the airport. Potential to be a game changer for the convention business and there are already tracks that run from downtown to the airport property.

    1. The challenge would be where a spur from the existing tracks to the terminal could go. Looking at KIND on Google Earth there appears to be no “right-of-way” that could accommodate such tracks without interfering with existing taxiways.

    2. The airport could build a train tunnel under the north runway when they begin reconstruction in the next couple of years to allow future trains to connect to the existing rail line. Much of the cost for this and an airport station could be paid via airport bonds instead of tax dollars. It has been discussed how it would make a big difference in selling the Indiana Convention Center to more national and international conferences and events.

    3. Run it around the north runway and connect between the terminal and garage, which is (on the surface) a large grassy space.

      Agreed it would be a helpful project with landing conventions. Indy can’t afford to rest on its laurels.

    4. Light rail and streetcar are illegal in Indiana compliments of Mike Pence and colleagues in the statehouse who want to ensure rapid transit does not exist in Indianapolis.

      Perhaps electric rail such as that in northern Indiana, the South Shore line, would be acceptable.

      A tunnel is possible however more expensive than a line that would continue fro downtown to the west then loop back to the airport terminal. This reverse loop alignment would not be unlike the airport rail alignments in Philadelphia and Portland OR.

    5. Known … The legislature could easily change that unless the taxi lobby is a big contributor to Republicans…

    6. Actual construction of a line like Philly’s would be more disruptive, as it would need to run along Weir Cook Dr. and interfere with parking access or exits for the duration of the construction project.

      A tunnel under the North Runway that’s going to be rebuilt anyway wouldn’t cause nearly the disruption/project visibility. It could connect to one of the underpasses that already exist under the outbound leg of Weir Cook near the parking garage.

      And the Airport Authority could just do the preliminary planning and construction without a whole lot of hoopla, to avoid raising the ire of some Republican legislators who are wannabe mayors.

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