The Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority was created in 1985 by a law adopted by the Indiana General Assembly in Indianapolis. Community leaders wanted to create a governing body to operate Fort Wayne International Airport under higher industry standards while devoting energy into making the airport less dependent on tax dollars.
The Airport Authority now owns and operates both Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA), which offers commercial passenger, commercial cargo, military, and general aviation operations on the city’s Southwest side; and Smith Field Airport (SMD), a general aviation airport on the city’s North side.
Since the creation of the Airport Authority, airport officials have actively pursued federal funding for FWA that has allowed the Airport Authority to expand and renovate the terminal, create a new entrance road, expand parking, resurface runways and taxiways, rebuild infrastructure, establish the Air Trade Center and the Kelley Commerce Aero Centre and add land to the 3,601 acre complex and numerous other projects.
The relationship between the Authority and the tenants (e.g. airlines, car rental companies, the gift shop, the restaurant, the parking lots, etc.) of the airport is very much like that of a shopping mall manager and the shop owners. The Authority provides the infrastructure and facilities and ensures that the environment is safe, clean, and attractive. The tenants must abide by Authority ordinances, but operate independently. Just as you would return merchandise directly to the store you purchased it from rather than go to the mall manager, so would you deal directly with an airline for ticketing, lost luggage, etc.
Since committing to keep Smith Field Airport open, the Airport Authority has made numerous investments in the airport’s infrastructure. The Authority completed and received FAA approval for the Smith Field Airport Layout Plan in 2007, which will guide future development at the airport and allow the Authority to seek Federal funding for projects at the 250 acre facility. The completion of the Airport Layout Plan laid the groundwork for the Authority to obtain in 2009, $1.1 million in federal stimulus money to rehabilitate the runway the first rehab of the runway in over 30-years. Under the Authority, Smith Field Airport is striving to grow general aviation in the region by introducing new aeronautical education opportunities, improving facilities, and pursuing new service providers. As a result of this commitment, the Authority completed construction of the new Aviation Maintenance Technology Facility at SMD in 2007. The facility currently houses programs through Ivy Tech Community College and Anthis Career Center which allow students to gain FAA certification in aircraft maintenance.
For more information on the Airport Authority or its airports, contact Kim Fuhrmann, Marketing and Administration Manager at (260) 747-4146 ext. 435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.