“We are excited to acquire this local airport and bolster our short- and long-term aviation offerings,” said GCIA Authority Chairman Pete Visclosky in a press release. “The past decade of strong planning, investments and growth of our airport has put us in a position where we can acquire this new asset, helping sustain our local aviation offerings while building for the future as well.”
The Gary airport funded the acquisition through budget planning. That process began in 2022.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Indiana Department of Transportation helped make the Griffith-Merrillville Airport ready for sale by making it eligible for federal and state funding. The city of Gary and the town of Griffith also helped coordinate the transaction.
“It’s been a privilege to work with GCIA and Griffith-Merrillville throughout this process,” said INDOT State Aviation Director Marty Blake. “Griffith-Merrillville is a key reliever airport in the Indiana Aviation System. GCIA’s acquisition will allow for continued partnership with our office to improve facilities at Griffith-Merrillville and will reinforce the $21 million regional annual economic impact this airport provides.”
The Gary airport has grown significantly since 2015 when its main runway was expanded to almost 9,000 feet. That upgrade made it the second longest after O’Hare International Airport.
The Gary airport also opened a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Facility in late 2018.
“We congratulate the Gary/Chicago International Airport on this acquisition and look forward to the promise of future economic growth fueled by this purchase in the coming years,” Gary Mayor Jerome Prince said. “The partnership between the city of Gary and our local airport has been a substantial boon to the local Northwest Indiana economy, and this is a further example of strong planning leading to growth opportunities.”
Griffith-Merrillville Airport was rebuilt in 2001. It has more than 175,000 square feet of ramp area and 38,000-square-foot terminal building.
“We are pleased to see the Griffith-Merrillville Airport acquired by the Gary/Chicago International Airport, and are excited to see future regional growth occur, as this is a tremendous opportunity for Northwest Indiana,” said Town of Griffith Council President Rick Ryfa. “GCIA has made some fantastic improvements in recent years, and with GCIA’s experienced management and existing resources, the Griffith-Merrillville Airport infrastructure will offer a strong complement to GCIA’s long-term planning.”
Griffith-Merrillville Airport, 1705 E. Main St., Griffith, was opened in January 1962. Airport services include G&N Aircraft Inc., Griffith Aviation Inc., Northwest Aviation Maintenance Inc. and Southlake Air.