The City of South Bend has agreed to spend $1.5 million on a new parking lot for planes.
The expenditure helped lure a company called Corporate Wings to town.
At a time when the South Bend International Airport is about a year away from being able to host international flights, Corporate Wings will be capable of providing such service.
“I don’t believe there are any affirmed flights but there’s a lot of discussion and the tarmac will enable them to have the type of planes that will reach Europe or other destinations from South Bend,” said Scott Ford, Executive Director of South Bend’s Community Investment Department.
Corporate Wings will offer clients of its charter and private airplane services access to models like the Gulfstream G650. “And it’s just another way in which we like to say we punch above our weight you know, within this entire region, having access to an international airport like that that has all the conveniences that we know exist but also that kind of connectivity is really a difference maker,” said Scott Ford. That convenience of literally just going to the South Bend Airport to get somewhere overseas is really critical.”
NewsCenter 16 today went on a tour of the soon-to-be new home of Corporate Wings. It’s the building on the north side of the airport along Lathrop Avenue that used to house DHL Delivery.
Today, crews were putting the finishing touches on the conversion which included work on the main entrance. Documents on filewith the city put the company’s total investment at the airport at some $6 million.
“Right now aircraft are having to clear customers in other cities before they come to South Bend. Now they’ll be able to come directly into South Bend and that’s just going to be much more convenient,” said Mike Guljas with the South Bend International Airport.
Officials say Corporate Wings is owned by Notre Dame Graduate Kenneth Ricci who built Corporate Wings into one of the ten largest aircraft management companies in the world. Ricci also served as the pilot for Governor William Clinton during the presidential campaign of 1992.
The city investment in the tarmac won’t bring any new property tax revenue because Corporate Wings is leasing its land from the St. Joseph County Airport Authority.
In recognition of that fact, the airport has agreed to give the city some 60 acres of land near the intersection of Lincolnway and the U.S. 31 Bypass to be used for commercial development as the city sees fit.