International Destinations From Rockford

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Popular vacation spots with plenty of sun and sand are now an option for travelers looking to depart from Rockford. The Greater Rockford Airport is teaming up with a tour operator and Transmeridian Airlines to take us to international destinations.

We've heard of Funjet and Apple Vacations but now we need to get to know Vacation Express. Through an 800 number, Web site or travel agent we can book a trip that packages air, hotel, and transportation to places like Cancun, Costa Rica, and Aruba.

Deputy Director of Air Service with the Northwest Chicagoland Regional Airport Derek Martin says, "with Vacation Express and Transmeridian, we can connect straight trough. This is a one stop shop and provides an easy convenience for travelers."

Starting in February, TMA will offer six flights a week to Orlando, Florida. From there, travelers continue on TMA to their international destination. But just recently an announcement was made that Rubloff Development Group in Rockford purchased Ryan International Airlines. Ryan international also offers flights to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Martin says, "Ryan has an airline that goes to those destinations but they go for Apple and Funjet."

If Ryan International does get non-stop international service to Cancun or the Caribbean, we might benefit. The two would both offer travel packages that could potentially offer different days, times and rates.

More than one international airline would be one more opportunity the airline could promote. Already the airport markets the fact that there is free parking. In a month, the parking will double as the airport is adding about 600 new free parking spots. Martin tells 23 News, "free parking will continue as long as we can keep adding spots on the surface level. When you have to build up is when it really starts to cost."

We can start to book vacation packages on Oct. 11. There will be a link on the airport's Web site at International service will begin on Feb. 10.