Debating the Merits of Bringing Hooters Air to the Greater Rockford Airport

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

On Wednesday, as fellow board members agreed for Hooters Air to take off in Rockford, Mary Gorman voted to ground the multi-million dollar plan.

"It has to be the right deal for the right price with the right terms. It wasn't. We'll give anyone who wants to fly here, no matter who they are or what they want to charge or what the deal is. Two million dollars is a lot. Some deals make sense, and some don't," Gorman says.

Gorman says she voted no because the proposal had what she called incomplete financial information. She specifically points to a Hooters Air reservation fee that wasn't addressed until Wednesday's meeting, a fee that hikes expenses up another $670,000.

"If you have to cover $670,000 in costs, you either have to sell more seats, or you have to raise the price of the tickets, and if you raise the price of the tickets, than are they going to remain competitive?" Gorman asks.

Area travel agents see things differently. Agents like Terri Lenz say the more local airline choices, the better, especially to the Rocky Mountains and the south's biggest city.

"A lot of business people go to Atlanta for a lot of seminars, so I think that’s wonderful. As far as Denver there's a lot of people that like to ski and do family vacations there, and visit relatives, so it'd be a quick jump for them," Lenz explains.

Lenz believes with RFD's free parking and fewer delays, local travelers will make the Hooters Air service a success.

"I think if they do their marketing well and get it out there known that they are having these flights, and have a relatively good price, I'm very optimistic that it will do well," Lenz adds.

And in two months, the Stateline will begin to find out whether Gorman's Hooters hesitation or travel agent anticipation takes flight.


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