Festival Airlines to Base its Operations in the Forest City

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

"This is not just another airline. This is an opportunity beyond most people's wildest expectations," Chicago/Rockford International Airport Executive Director Bob O'Brien said.

Again, there are fresh expectations at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport.

Thursday, airport bosses announce its latest addition - Festival Airlines. The vacation carrier will base its operations in the Forest City, and promises to add at least six new destinations later this year. They'll change from season to season, ranging from Calgary to Cancun.

"We will service all of these and others, we will change our flights throughout the year to match up to what the public interest's are," Festival Airlines C.E.O. Carl George said.

But Thursday's announcement wasn't just about flights, it was also about jobs. Festival Airline leaders also plan on setting up an operations center, which will employ as many as 100 folks over the next few years.

"We think this area has got an incredibly stable workforce. People like Lowe's, UPS, people like Chrysler all have expanded their operations here. We are continuing a part of that," George said.

Meanwhile, the folks at RFD are excited to take on this fresh challenge, and hopefully prove the skeptics wrong about taking on another unproven passenger carrier.

"We have to grow this airport by taking risks and taking chances, and we view this as an opportunity to have a Rockford based carrier and employees in this town, and to really grow a relationship," RFD Airport Board Chairman Mike Dunn said.

A relationship between a start-up vacation carrier, and an airport group looking to start anew in 2006.

And here's some information about Festival Airlines. The carrier is scheduled to lay out where they'll take off to and when sometime in April. The first planned departure on Festival Airlines will be sometime later this year. The airline's fares will be priced on four different levels, ranging from about $200 to $325 each for round trip ticket.


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