How do you measure IND’s success in the five years since the Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal opened – by the number of flights (818,000) during that time, or perhaps by how many passengers (37,050,000) those flights have transported to and from IND? Or maybe by the tons (5,120,000) of cargo that have moved through IND, or the estimated $6 million-plus in fuel expenses the terminal’s midfield location has saved airlines?
Perhaps the sheer number of awards and other recognitions honoring IND since the terminal opened – more than 40 – is the best way of summing things up. For example, IND was named the best airport in North America for 2012 and 2010 by Airports Council International and has been in the top three for every year since 2010.
IND has also led the way on energy sustainability over the past five years. It is now the home to the largest airport-based solar farm in the country. Occupying traditionally undevelopable land, its land lease with the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) contributes to the tens of millions of dollars in local tax revenues IND helps generate for local communities, schools, and other beneficiaries, part of an overall annual economic impact of more than $4.5 billion.
The new terminal and grounds achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, reflecting its highly energy-efficient design. In addition, IND has reduced overall energy usage further, by more than 15%, over the past five years and recently opened a new travel plaza with a less expensive, cleaner, compressed natural gas option.
The IAA has continued its commitment to serving the local community in many additional ways. The opening of a new passive nature park, Sodalis Nature Park, in the IAA’s conservation area, in partnership with Hendricks County Parks & Recreation, has attracted about 100,000 visitors annually. Events like the Special Olympics and Indiana Children’s Wish Fund plane pulls, veteran Honor Flights, and the Aviation Career Education (ACE) academy, a nationally recognized and FAA-endorsed mentoring and educational program, are additional opportunities the IAA has taken to better its local community beyond its core aviation mission.
“However you look at it, the success of the new terminal would not have been possible without the visionary leadership of so many, at the IAA and in our surrounding communities, in the 30-plus years of planning behind the project,” said Robert Duncan, the IAA’s executive director. “Thanks to their foresight, we have a sustainable airport system that excels at accommodating the air service needs of Central Indiana today and for generations to come.”