Gary Backing Away from Seeking Status of Third Airport

April 7, 2006

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New Gary, Ind., Mayor Rudy Clay says he is moving away from making the city's airport the third major airport for the Chicago area.

Just minutes after being sworn in this afternoon, Clay said he wants to bring increased cargo service to the Gary Chicago International Airport.

Clay says the airport will still try to attract a commuter airline, but that won't be the top priority.

""I never believed from the very beginning that Gary would be the third major airport,"" he says. ""People are not going to come from Chicago to Gary to catch a passenger plane to go to Las Vegas. We need to have air freight, air cargo, two or three thousand blue-collar jobs at the Gary airport and support that,"" he says.

Just last month, Hooters Airline indefinitely suspended service out of Gary. Other small airlines have flown out of Gary in recent years, but have failed.

Clay says he does not believe his decision will jeopardize the $60 million in federal funding the airline expects over the next 10 years.

Former Mayor Scott King had pushed to have Gary considered Chicago's third major airport.

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