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Fort Wayne airport faces challenges, consultant says

Carriers are pleased with Fort Wayne International Airport, but that doesn’t mean it won’t confront challenges going forward, an industry analyst says.

The reduction of 50-seater jets, pilot shortages and competition from larger neighboring cities are among the obstacles facing regional airports as they continue to negotiate with airlines for increased service.

Those are the observations of Jeffrey Hartz, senior consultant with Mead & Hunt, an advisory firm based in Madison, Wis. He addressed an audience of about 50 business people Thursday during the Regional Air Service Breakfast at the airport.

Hartz said additional service, such as nonstop flights to Phoenix that begin Oct. 30, will assist in proving the Fort Wayne airport has a thriving customer base. Major airlines will need confidence in the area before investing in larger aircraft and more flights, Hartz said.

For more on this story, see Friday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Friday.