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CEO Letter

A message from CEO, Tara Barney

Growing one of our region’s most valuable assets

With nonstop service to three of the six busiest airports in the U.S. (#1 ATL, #2 DFW and #6 CLT), our Region’s airport continues to offer top-ranked worldwide connectivity, connecting our communities to the world and the world to our communities. Growth, however, has been stunted of late due to steep nationwide airline cuts that are impacting air travel here at home. I recently had the opportunity to join a conversation with American Airlines while they were in town and learned a great deal about the current state of our nation’s air service and the industry challenges stemming essentially from a shortage of pilots. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and Evansville Regional Business Committee President Pete Paradossi, along with airport officials, joined the discussion as we shared existing and anticipated future travel needs of our business and leisure community and learned about the host of challenges currently bearing down upon the airlines. Evansville Regional Airport truly serves as the bridge linking our community and business needs to the airlines and the rest of the world. And it is apparent that the airlines, even during their challenging industry climate, exude continued confidence and commitment to our Region’s airport. The relationships that the airport has formed with our airline allies are critically important, as is EVV’s continued competitiveness. I was encouraged to also learn that Evansville Regional’s air service incentives are completely on par with our much larger competitors, and EVV’s cost-competitiveness from an airline rent perspective is most impressive. Our airport’s efforts to keep their costs to the airlines low, having not raised them in over a decade, is appreciated and unique.

Regionally and at the state level through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and our congressional leaders, we continue doing our part. With a resilient pandemic recovery and new job creation, linked with airport-supporting initiatives like Impact EVV, a local fund pooling dollars that can be used toward new destinations and airlines, the Greater Evansville Region is on the rise and exemplifies new innovative development and vitality.

Due to all these combined efforts, Evansville Regional Airport is a force to be reckoned with regarding an attractive place for airlines to do business. Together, we collectively are doing all the right things to maintain and attract airlines and routes to our Region. But can we do more individually? Absolutely.

To continue demonstrating to the airlines a strong travel market in Evansville – travelers who only want to fly out of Evansville and keep our travel dollars local – we must continue choosing EVV First. Exhibiting a continued strong allegiance now, better positions us for later when the pilot shortage improves, the industry shifts and the airlines return to growth mode, especially in regional markets like ours. I hope you will join me in growing one of our Region’s most valuable assets, which in turn encourages airline growth here instead of elsewhere. Like we’ve heard Nate Hahn from EVV say repeatedly, we need to give the airlines a reason to invest planes, pilots and people here versus “there.” Choosing to FlyEVV First now helps us do that.