Indianapolis Executive Airport – Zionsville, Indiana

May 30, 2024

Indianapolis Executive Airport

Flying into the heart of Central Indiana


Navigating to serve the needs of a rapidly growing region.

Conveniently located within minutes of the rapidly expanding cities of Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, and Whitestown, and within a short drive of downtown Indianapolis, Indianapolis Executive Airport is a national-level general aviation airport, ideal for travel and business. Over the past several decades, the airport has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from its humble beginnings into a burgeoning hub for corporate aviation.

“We started as a small airport back in the 1950s, with a small grass slip, a glider airport really, for decades. Over the last 30 years or so, we started to grow into the airport we are today,” describes Airport Director, Sam Sachs.

“We do quite a bit of flight training, but a lot of what we see here in the growth is with the corporate and business aviation side. 20 years ago, we had a pretty small ramp, a single hanger, and then all of a sudden, this immense amount of growth in the area around us, which kind of forced the airport to grow as well.”

Growth and Resilience

As the surrounding communities continue to surge, the airport has encountered what Sachs describes as “growing pains.”

He notes, ” We’re dealing with it and tackling one thing at a time.” This resilient mindset was exemplified by the successful completion of a runway extension project in 2023, which was accomplished within a 90-day timeframe during the hottest months of the year.

Ranking second in the state for business aviation, last year the airport averaged 26 operations daily, slightly lower than the previous years due to the runway construction.

“Corporate business aviation is kind of where our niche is. We are growing in a lot of different aspects as well, but that’s where our focus has been in the last couple of years,” Sachs maintains.


Training and Education

Operated by Jet Access, a full-service FBO with locations across the US, the airport offers full-service amenities, including flight training, maintenance, and a charter fleet.

In terms of the flight training opportunities Sachs relays, “They have a steady flow of people coming in and out of the flight school. They’re focusing on a zero to hero type flight training program, where you start out learning to fly with them, start your private pilot’s license, and then you do your instrument rating, and then your commercial rating, and eventually, they’ll hire you for their charter fleet.”

Sachs emphasizes the importance of fostering interest in aviation from a young age to ensure the industry’s growth. “It’s tough because there’s not necessarily a lot of capacity to support the demand,” he admits.

“We’re trying our best to work with local entities to promote an interest in aviation in the first place. I do feel that starting at the core, and starting very young and getting people interested in aviation is a good way of fostering future aviation growth and expansion.”

He shares his involvement with his children, offering them unique experiences at the airport to cultivate their curiosity.

“They come to visit me at the airport, they like to see the airplanes. Not many kids get to come out here and jump in the airfield truck and go watch airplanes take off and land. They get some great perks.”

As far as community outreach, Indianapolis Executive also offers free tours for children’s groups. “I talk about aviation and explain different kinds of airplanes and types of airports, and then we walk around and look at the airplanes up close. They get to sit in airplanes, and it is a whole experience for them,” Sachs depicts.

The airport is also considering potential partnerships with Hamilton County, to develop aviation-focused career programs in local high schools.

Sachs shares, “Aviation is a cornerstone for higher education here, with schools like Purdue just down the road, which is the top aviation school in the country. And then we have Indiana State University and Western Michigan, these are all big flight school colleges that are just down the road. So, there is a huge interest in aviation locally, and they’re trying to foster that within the high schools.”

A Gateway to the Community

As a key economic driver in the region, Indianapolis Executive Airport serves as a gateway to boundless opportunities.

“The City of Westfield just to our east was the sixth fastest growing city in the country last year,” Sachs recounts.

“Of course, with residential growth comes commercial growth, and so we see a lot of new big box stores, fast food restaurants, even industrial type development happening around the city. When that development occurs, we typically see the corporate presidents for those businesses fly in, whether it’s for oversight of the construction of the building, or grand openings, or whatever it might be.”

Mentioning the specific examples of Meijer, a Midwest grocery store that is expanding its presence in the area, Chick-fil-A which has opened new restaurants in the community, and pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories, he adds, “We are conveniently located to help those companies do what they have to do in the local community without having to fly 45 minutes away into Indianapolis International. They come here, 10 minutes down the road, and they can be where they need to be.”

While the airport isn’t actively seeking additional aviation-related ventures, it remains open to leasing opportunities for corporate development and private hangar construction. “We have an area on the western side of the airport that we reserve for corporate development,” Sachs discloses.

“We built an additional taxiway with the intent of creating large-scale corporate hangars. We are working with a couple of different people to look at developing that area.” He emphasizes the airport’s continued commitment to accommodating the needs of existing partners who are looking to expand, while actively seeking opportunities to attract new corporate entities.


Growing for the Future

The recently completed runway extension was the culmination of 15 years of planning, boosting the runway length to 7001 feet.

“That gives us the longest general aviation runway in Central Indiana and one of the longest general aviation runways in the Midwest. The runway is longer than a lot of commercial airports,” touts Sachs. “It’s huge for us and allows us to bring in, essentially, any aircraft we can manage.”

The extension also facilitates corporate jets to carry maximum fuel loads, transforming the airport’s capabilities.

“The same corporate jets that were flying into and out of the airport before, maybe they couldn’t take as much fuel as they wanted to, to go where they wanted to go,” he says. “But now, you have a Gulfstream or a large Falcon jet or something like that, you can put maximum fuel on there, and take off and go to Europe, or even some of these jets can get from here to Asia.” Recently one of the airport’s Challenger-based jets flew to Iceland, taking full advantage of the long haul flight capability of the new runway extension.

With increased opportunity for an aircraft to fly out of the Indianapolis Executive Airport to international destinations, the establishment of a port of entry is under consideration, enhancing the airport’s capacity for international arrivals.

“At the moment the aircraft have to clear customs at a port of entry somewhere in the US, and then come here,” Sachs conveys. “Last year, we did 129 international departures out of the airport, which is one of the highest numbers in the state, and we’re not an international airport. That is huge. So, we see that international sector as potentially the next frontier for the airport.”

Looking ahead, Indianapolis Executive Airport is focusing on continued upgrades and expansions. A major lighting conversion to LED technology is slated, along with improvements to the airfield’s electrical infrastructure.

Discussions are also underway for a potential ramp expansion to address current capacity constraints and enhance traffic flow, particularly on the north side of the property. The installation of an approach lighting system is also being considered, to improve visibility during adverse weather conditions.

Exciting Opportunities On the Horizon

Sachs points to the dynamic landscape surrounding the Indianapolis Executive Airport, with new leadership in neighboring cities.

He says, “We want to work on helping to foster development in both cities, but specifically, smart development, smart growth. We’re lucky here where we don’t have a lot of growth and development around the airport and kind of want to keep it that way.”

With the runway extension complete, Sachs says the airport is looking towards the next major project.

“We anticipate the runway extension bringing in more traffic, and it’s a domino effect. You do one project, and now you have to expand the ramp to help accommodate that traffic growth, and it’s one domino after another. We are keeping our foot on the gas. We are just in a constant state of planning the next project, and we’re excited about that.”

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Indianapolis Executive Airport

What: A national-level general aviation airport

Where: Zionsville, Indiana



City of Westfield –

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