Planned West Lafayette development could bring commercial flights back to Purdue

"All the right mechanisms are in place."

Posted: Oct 17, 2019 8:19 AM
Updated: Oct 17, 2019 8:52 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — More development seems to be coming to Greater Lafayette, but there is one piece that leaders say our community lacks. It's something you probably would like the option of having.

Purdue University has the second-busiest airport in the state, second only to Indianapolis International. It holds that ranking without having commercial flights.

"We've got one of the greatest universities in the world, we've got a very strong workforce, we have a very positive and safe community," said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis. "The one thing that we do lack, is immediate connectivity to other airports that connect us with the world."

Several commercial airlines served for decades at Purdue. However given it's proximity to Indianapolis, airlines started pulling out. The last left in the mid-2000s. Now, the conversation about bringing it back is starting again.

"We are all looking forward to that day, and I do think that day is going to come," said Purdue University President Mitch Daniels. "To a large extent, I think it depends on our success in the Innovation District."

Planned housing and business development is booming in Purdue's Discovery West District near Airport Road and U.S. 231.

"I don't think we are too far away. The Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the Saab facility, Rolls Royce, a residential facility to be called 'The Provenance,'" listed Daniels on the development.

"You look at the folks that are coming here to manage these places, they're not from West Lafayette, they're not from Greater Lafayette or Purdue University," said Dennis. "They're from all around the country and all around the world."

Dennis said the airlines they've reached out to all understand there is a demand in Greater Lafayette. He said local government is pulling for it, but they have to be good stewards of tax payer dollars.

"If there isn't a full airplane, is it proper for us to use tax dollars to fill in that cost? I don't think it is," Dennis said. "All the right mechanisms are in place. It just takes an investor or a corporation or a business plan that's going to make sure things work in the best way."

"We are getting close, I think, to the sufficient mass where it will make sense for somebody to start bringing planes in here," said Daniels.

The Purdue Airport declined to comment.

Purdue extended the airport's runway and has the infrastructure in place. Dennis said because of that, the process could move quickly when an airline decides to invest.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31715

Reported Deaths: 1984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9189533
Lake3299167
Cass15826
Allen127766
St. Joseph117034
Hendricks112367
Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
LaPorte40821
Tippecanoe3733
Jackson3611
Howard35618
Delaware35434
Hancock31927
Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer161
Gibson142
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152
West Lafayette
Broken Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 88°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 87°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 84°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 85°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Logansport
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Hot and Humid Weather Continues with Some Late-Day Storms Possible.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events