Terre Haute airport officials hope a change of name will be a launching pad to rebrand and market the airport for economic development.
Officials have unveiled the new name of the airport — Terre Haute Regional Airport.
“A lot of folks think that is what we used to be, but it was Hulman Regional Airport,” said Airport Executive Director Jeff Hauser.
The FAA designation of Hulman Field, or HUF, as used by pilots, will remain. The airport’s board of directors had been considering four names since November 2015.
Hauser said the term international “tends to scare off a lot of our general aviation folks because they see international and think it is just too busy to fly into,” Hauser said. The new name, along with a new airport logo and a marketing branding of an aerotech park, will be better aimed at general aviation as well as targeting new business, he said.
“We are redefining ourselves,” Hauser said, pointing to a new facade to be placed on the airport terminal, and a runway project. “Our primary focus over the next few years will be on economic development,” Hauser said. “I think it will be better for our existing businesses and for our FBO [fixed base operations]” which sells fuel for aircraft.
The airport has 250 acres of land targeted for development. The airport plans to target aircraft maintenance repair operations, Hauser said. Additionally, 49 acres of the airport’s land since June has been designated under a Duke Energy site readiness program, which will market that property nationally.
Misty McCammack, senior economic development manager for Duke Energy, said the airport’s rebranding fits into Duke’s site readiness program, which is evaluated by a national site consultant. “It helps identify targeted audiences, what industry should you market to,” McCammack said. “The consultant treats this just like they are working for a company and trying to locate a site. The program provides top-of-the-line awareness,” McCammack said.
Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said when he visited the airport eight years ago, “there were a lot of things that were not happening. But when you look today, and see all that has happened even in the last year and a half, all of the buildings are rented out, and all of the activity out here is phenomenal.
“It physically looks better, there is a lot of activity,” Bennett added. “Most people don’t know it is the third busiest airport in the state of Indiana. It is a great asset to the community, and we need to continue to find ways to leverage it,” the mayor said.
The airport was originally named Hulman Field, after Anton Hulman Jr., a Terre Haute businessman and owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He donated about 638 acres to the city of Terre Haute for an airport in 1943. In 1976, the city and Vigo County jointly formed an authority to manage the airport.
The airport’s named was changed in 1981 to Hulman Regional Airport, and another change in 1998 was made to Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field, which remained until the new name was unveiled.