It took all of four seconds for the Greater Rockford Airport Authority to tell leaders, "keep up your search and bring in flights now."
"This board just accelerated the process and gave us the tools to hopefully bring one or more airlines in, in short order," airport director Bob O'Brien said.
Leaders hope to seal the deal with one airline, likely either twice-daily Northwest service to Detroit, or Frontier daily service to Denver, in the next month and a half. City transportation officials like Dave Lindberg are thrilled new gates could open up the gateway for business travel.
"It's a tremendously exciting night because there's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into this effort for the last three years," Lindberg said.
The board also promised to provide the airport up to $2 million in a security blanket should the airline or airlines lose out on the needed passengers, but after seeing $10 million pass through RFD from Trans Meridian airlines this past year, leaders are confident.
"It's a state-of-the-art, world-class airport. We need to use it. O'Hare's in trouble, there's no reason not to use Rockford," Airport Authority chairman Mike Dunn said.
Just a year after RFD runways laid empty for commercial service, the airport is suddenly surging with passenger possibilities.
"Unfortunately this community had to hit a rock bottom place relative to passenger air service, but history is history. We are standing shoulder to shoulder, our strength is standing shoulder to shoulder, let's get the job done," O'Brien said.