A new aircraft management and charter flight company owned by Forest River Inc. President Pete Liegl could help boost funding for the municipal airport in Elkhart, Ind.
The South Bend Tribune reported that Travel Management Co. was formed in March and has been running flights for about 10 days, said Scott Wise, the company’s general manager.
Travel Management will run charter flights out of Elkhart Municipal Airport and manage aircraft for businesses and individuals.
The company’s turboprop has been in the sky five out of the last seven days, Wise said Wednesday (May 24), and Travel Management already has a commitment from an Elkhart company for 400 hours of flying time per year.
Travel Management also has a seven-passenger jet and is expecting delivery in December on a brand new eight-passenger jet, Wise said.
Some 13 truckloads of steel were delivered Wednesday to the northeast side of the Elkhart airport to build a 50,000-square-foot hangar for Travel Management.
Liegl has invested in excess of $20 million into the project, Wise said.
With RV company executives, suppliers and other business leaders sprinkled around Elkhart County, the need for charter flights is great, said Scott Henely, director of operations for Travel Management.
“There’s really nothing based here in Michiana,” he said. “Airlines operate on a schedule. It’s their schedule, not the CEO’s.”
If the company is successful, the airport’s funding level may benefit also, said airport manager Andrew Maksymovitch.
The new hangar means more revenue from land leasing fees. Increased fuel consumption will be helpful to the on-site vendors who sell it (and pay a fee to the airport).
Travel Management plans on growing its fleet into 2007, Wise said, and that could mean even more takeoffs and landings at the airport, Maksymovitch said.
“We’re just very ecstatic that Mr. Liegl has chosen Elkhart to expand in,” Maksymovitch said. “It expands our community’s reach to other communities within the region.”