Interim director takes over at Indianapolis International Airport

TravelJohn ClarkMike WellsEnvironmental IssuesLand ResourcesNatural Resources

Beset by slow economic development and lax internal controls, the Indianapolis International Airport has turned to a familiar face to fly straight again.

Bob Duncan, 66, is the former airport director. He's been brought back to replace Executive Director John Clark, who was forced out Monday.

"I wanted to bring the airport back to its roots," said Duncan, just six hours into his new-old job. "The roots being, first, safety and security, second, air service development and that includes cargo development and, third, staff development and accountability."

Clark's three year tenure at the airport came to an end as his letter of intent expired. On his watch, cargo business and non-airline revenue increased and debt payments were accelerated but the director was dogged by questions about seemingly excessive travel expenses.

A Fox59 Wants to Know investigation last fall documented more than $65,000 in overseas and domestic travel in the previous year by Clark and his top staff. Clark defended the travel as the price of bringing business to the airport.

At the same time, 'For Lease' signs still dot the airport's North Perimeter Road while hangars remain empty and the former terminal is still undeveloped.

"The land use plan shows the old terminal being used as a cargo operation," said Duncan, who added that IAA is being marketed to cargo companies as a site with access to ground shipment trucking companies to move goods.

Last week, Mayor Greg Ballard said he was concerned about the sluggish pace of airport development both in the vacant parts of the airport and the new property near the 3-year-old, $1 billion Col. Weir Terminal.

"There is actually a solar farm deal in process," said Duncan, "as well as an investigation moving forward on a service station/convenience store in front of the airport so those sort of things are happening."

Duncan said a lack of capitol investment and developers willing to commit to airport-related projects during the nation's slow economic recovery are hampering IAA growth.

Duncan said he will meet with the airport authority board Friday morning and its chairman Mike Wells to determine strategy for the airport's future.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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TravelJohn ClarkMike WellsEnvironmental IssuesLand ResourcesNatural Resources