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.”