Passenger travel up 20 percent at South Bend International Airport

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - "Success is really the number of people who choose to fly in and out of South Bend," said Chris Murphy, chairman and CEO of 1st Source Bank.

And according to the data, success is happening. Thanks to Project Propel, the South Bend International Airport had a 20 percent increase in passenger traffic in 2018.

"That figure represents over 124,000 new passengers traveling in and out of the airport," said Regina Emberton, president and CEO of the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership.

That means 339 more people every day.

"That's five to six times the growth of the average of the rest of the country," Murphy added.

Project Propel encourages businesses and other leaders to fly local instead of driving to Chicago or Detroit for cheaper tickets and the illusion of cheaper travel.

And leaders say these savings will also trickle down to the average flyer.

"As we fill more and more of those business seats, as we fill more and more seats on the airplane, what happens is the airlines add more," said Mike Daigel, executive director and CEO of South Bend International Airport.

Their theory: More seats will eventually mean better prices and options for your vacation travel.

SBN leaders say all airlines are seeing an increase in flyers, including Allegiant Air, which grew about 4.5 percent in 2018.

Project Propel was announced in March 2018.