AirTran Airways plans to start daily non-stop service between Indianapolis and the local airport in November, restoring a route that was lost in April when ATA Airlines went bankrupt.
The new addition to AirTran's schedule, announced Wednesday, brings the number of that airline's daily flights to and from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport to six.
AirTran began service from SRQ in December with three flights, and in seven months has doubled its service and contributed to a 20 percent increase in passenger traffic at the airport year-to-date.
"It shows we're continuing to demonstrate the need and response to low-cost carriers that we said we'd get," said Fred Piccolo, president and CEO of the airport.
ATA offered daily non-stop flights to Indianapolis in the winter months, and threetimes a week in summer until April, when the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and pulled out of Sarasota-Bradenton.
"The abandonment of the market was not due to the lack of patronage from passengers," Piccolo said. "It was due to financial challenges ATA was facing, as many airlines are facing right now. It's nice to get that market back so quickly. It's a proven market. We'll now have it year-round."
AirTran offers five daily nonstop flights to Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington and Chicago from Sarasota-Bradenton.
Nonstop service from Indianapolis on AirTran will also be be offered to Orlando, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Atlanta, according to a press release.
Beginning Nov. 8, nonstop flights from Indianapolis will depart daily at 11:40 a.m., arriving at Sarasota-Bradenton at 1:50 p.m. The flight to Indianapolis will leave Sarasota-Bradenton at 2:30 p.m., arriving at 4:50 p.m.
All Indianapolis routes will use Boeing 717 aircraft with 117 seats, according t release.
"Our Indianapolis service launch has been one of the most successful in AirTran Airways history," said John Kirby, AirTran Airways director of strategic planning and scheduling, in a statement.