Local Company Purchases Airline

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

Rubloff Development Group has purchased Ryan International Airlines. The acquisition has the potential to create hundreds of jobs in the next few years, and it may also mean more scheduled service out of the Greater Rockford Airport.

Rubloff has the planes, Ryan international has the crew, so Ryan President Jeff Crippen says it's the perfect match.

"The piece that was missing that Ron Ryan wasn’t interested in that Rubloff brings to us is asset-ownership," says Ryan President Jeff Crippen.

Ryan International is one of the largest U.S. charter airlines. Customers include Apple and Funjet vacations. They'd now like to seat some of that business in Rockford by the end of the year.

"We're in discussions with people like that to operate out of Rockford to sun-seeking destinations like Aruba and Cancun," says Bill Gray, General Manager of Rubloff Aerospace Group.

Rubloff will also build a new maintenance facility at the airport near its current site. It will be about six-times the size of the emery facility. Rubloff will first work on their own planes, but the goal is to bring in third parties.

"Any customers that operate similar aircrafts, like our 757, which is the one we’ll probably start work on, so any air-carrier with a 757 would be our target customer," says Gray.

Long-term, Gray says he wants a nose to tail operation; when one plan leaves the next comes in. He says that would mean hundreds of new employees working in three shifts seven days a week.

Groundbreaking on the new maintenance facility will be some time next spring. The majority of the Ryan operations will remain in Wichita, Kansas where the company is headquartered.


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