For the very first time, Verl and Margaret Groth can pick up their granddaughters from the Rockford Airport.
"We're real excited about them being able to fly into Rockford. I think it's really great it's so much easier to come here," Verl Groth says.
They flew in from Fort Lauderdale. Flights now go to and from there twice a week. This is the seventh destination available at RFD. So far, flights average 87-percent full, six points higher than the national average. Airport Executive Director Bob O'Brien says if these locations stay successful, next year, there will be even more.
"Sometime soon we might be announcing non-stop service to Shannon, Ireland. Hopefully, we'll be announcing service to either the east or west coast," he says.
The passenger waiting area is being renovated since 28-percent more flyers are expected to use RFD in 2008. Cortney Bloom and her brother are frequent travelers and say they can't wait for more choices.
"I try to fly out here at least once a month if I have time off from work and once every other month if I can and just go on vacations here and there," she says.
As for the Groths, they've only flown O'Hare. But say more destinations will keep them in Rockford. And while there's only five gates being used, RFD officials say there's room for 18 more.
O'Brien says his goal is to have a million passengers. And in that case those additional 18 gates would be needed. He says they could be used without doing major construction and it wouldn't affect the parking lot or existing ramps.