November 1, 2002
Purdue ticket rebate plan designed to help new air service take off
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. A gift for the holidays arrived early in the form of a one-time, communitywide $50 rebate package for travelers who depart from Purdue University Airport in December, airport director Betty M. Stansbury announced today (Friday, 11/1).
"The 100 percent university-funded incentive program was designed to help introduce the community to our new airline service, Corporate Airlines' AmericanConnection," Stansbury said.
The airline service, a regional partner for American Airlines, began selling tickets for the Lafayette service's first flights Oct. 20. It will begin offering three daily departures from Purdue to American Airlines' St. Louis hub on Dec. 1.
The rebate program also will apply to passengers on Northwest Airlink until Dec.18, which is the last day of the airline's service to Purdue.
A Purdue employee incentive program for faculty and staff flying on Purdue business also has been reinstated from Nov. 1 through June 30.
Among its features, the ticket rebate program applies only to departures from Purdue Airport. The $50 rebate is the maximum per trip whether a round trip or one-way flight in December. There is no limit on the number of trips.
In order to qualify for the rebate, travelers must complete rebate request forms provided at the airline ticket counter. Rebate forms must be returned with proof of flight by Jan. 31.
"As our way of saying thanks for flying out of Purdue Airport, we'll give travelers $50 if they fill out the form and send it back to us with proof of flight, such as a copy of ticket or itinerary if it's an e-ticket, plus the boarding pass," Stansbury said.
The rebate form also includes survey information on destination, purchasing decision factors and questions regarding the nature of travel, be it business or pleasure. If the returned form indicates Purdue business travel, departments will be contacted for appropriate account numbers and vouchers that will be processed to credit that department, Stansbury said. Otherwise a check will be made out to the traveler.
"I think this program is fantastic for the community, " said Mike Brooks, president of Greater Lafayette Progress Inc. "This program underscores a commitment to retain airline service in the Greater Lafayette area, which is so important to economic development as well as to the business community, the university and local governments. I hope the community will support this incentive from Purdue."
Brooks and Dana Smith, president of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, raised more than $60,000 as part of a one-time incentive package worth almost $100,000 to begin AmericanConnection's Lafayette service. Those funds will be used to market and advertise the new service. The balance of the incentive package will be made up through waiver of airport fees, hotel room discounts and reductions of airport office rental rates, Stansbury said.
Purdue University and Greater Lafayette business and government officials announced the new airline service on Oct. 10, less than a month after Northwest Airlink, then the only commercial airline serving the airport, announced it would cancel its service. That decision came after community leaders declined to pay Northwest's request for a $500,000 annual subsidy to keep the service. Stansbury said Northwest officials said the airline lost about $300,000 last year on Lafayette service and had to reevaluate whether to stay in this market.
AmericanConnection was offered the $100,000 one-time incentive package thanks to contributions from the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Purdue Research Park, Greater Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Lafayette Community Development Corporation, Lafayette Urban Enterprise Zone and the Greater Lafayette Community Foundation.
Corporate Airlines, a privately held company with headquarters in Smyrna, Tenn., currently plans three daily departures from Lafayette around 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., with the last arrival at Purdue Airport at around 9 p.m. The company currently operates daily non-stop flights as AmericanConnection between Smyrna, Nashville, Atlanta and St. Louis. In addition, the company provides service in the Midwest as AmericanConnection between St. Louis and 10 destinations as an American Airlines' regional partner.
The Purdue Airport, located on the West Lafayette campus, was the first university-owned airport in the nation.
Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Kenneth Burns, executive vice president and treasurer, (765) 494-9705, email@example.com
Betty M. Stansbury, (765) 743-3442, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Brooks, (765) 742-0095
Dana Smith, (765) 742-4041
Corporate Airlines offices, (615) 223-5644
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com