[The Gary, Indiana-Chicago International Airport] has only one passenger flight—Allegiant Airlines Flight 650. It flies nonstop from Sanford, Fla., to Gary, where passengers unload and new passengers board. Allegiant changes the flight number to 651, and the plane takes off and heads back to Sanford.
It's time on the ground in Gary: Usually less than one hour.
Once the flight is gone, the terminal is shut down and locked up for several days. The Allegiant flight only comes to Gary twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays. That's it.
The annual cost to keep the joint open comes to around $3 million, which is sucked out of your pocket via federal ticket fees. The good folks at NBCChicago.com note that tens of millions more are being spent on runway upgrades and other capital projects.
Incidentally, if you go to Allegiant's website, the fares are astoundingly low. I quickly priced a non-stop round-trip ticket leaving Gary on Thursday, December 6 and returning Sunday, December 9. The price was around a whopping $125 for the whole trip. The same trip leaving from Chicago's O'Hare and flying into either Orlando or Daytona Beach (the closest I could get and 20 to 30 miles away) ran between twice and four times as much.
More on airport boondoggles and the sad role played by outdated federal mandates that really need to be scrapped.