INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mike Pence recently joined executives from United Airlines and the central Indiana business community to announce new daily nonstop service from Indianapolis to its hub at San Francisco International Airport.
“Since becoming governor, the business community repeatedly identified the lack of access to San Francisco as an economic development barrier for Indiana, hindering our ability to compete for and win new jobs for Hoosiers,” Pence said in a press release. “With a reputation as a state that collaboratively works to solve problems, through public and private sector partnership we spearheaded an effort to secure a nonstop route from Indianapolis to San Francisco. This will not only maximize our opportunities for economic development, but will benefit companies and communities across the state.”
Pence asked Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith to lead a collaborative effort to pursue securing a nonstop route from Indianapolis to San Francisco. Smith and Scott Dorsey, chief executive officer of ExactTarget and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, co-chaired a steering committee charged with enlisting support for this effort. Securing the route, which offers enhanced connectivity to a national source of venture capital and a key gateway to Asia and the South Pacific, greatly enhances Indiana’s economic opportunities.
“Not only will Indiana’s native companies benefit from better West Coast access, but this air service represents a major step toward becoming known as a ‘fly-to’ state,” said Smith. “In particular, for Indiana to compete for high-tech, high-wage jobs from the San Francisco Bay Area, the Hoosier State needs to be connected, nonstop, to this market.”
The flights will operate using Airbus A319 aircraft, with eight first-class seats, 40 economy-plus seats, and 72 economy seats. United flight 500 will depart 8 a.m. from Indianapolis International Airport (IND), arriving 10 a.m. at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The return flight, United 317, departs at 1:35 p.m. from San Francisco and arrives at 8:51 p.m. in Indianapolis.
The new service, which launches Jan. 7 from San Francisco to Indianapolis and Jan. 8 from Indianapolis to San Francisco, will provide travelers with connections from United’s largest West Coast hub to points throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia.
“We are thrilled to offer customers new service between San Francisco and Indianapolis, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country,” said Kate Gebo, vice president of corporate real estate at United. “The daily service will connect customers in Indianapolis to our largest gateway to the Pacific, where United offers more flights to more destinations than any other airline.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) will provide United Airlines with a minimum revenue guarantee, consistent with industry standards and United’s business model, during the term of the one-year agreement. To accomplish this, the IEDC allocated $1.5 million in a reserve fund, which represents the state’s maximum financial exposure. No payments from the reserve fund will occur as long as the market’s support for the nonstop route equals or exceeds the minimum revenue guarantee.
“Nonstop flights to San Francisco are a game changer for our tech community, creating new opportunities for Indiana companies to attract Silicon Valley venture investment, talent, and strategic partnerships,” said Dorsey. “Thanks to Gov. Pence and Secretary Smith for their bold leadership and the commitment of United to make this long-needed link between Indianapolis and San Francisco a reality.”