Greater Rockford Airport Leaders Remain Confident After FAA Study

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

An FAA study saying Rockford's airport won't decrease O'Hare's congestion isn't fazing leaders in their move to increase commercial carriers.

"It's not a setback. It's actually going to play well into what we're doing," Derek Martin said.

Deputy director Derek Martin believes the study, which found no problems in adding new runways at O'Hare, will benefit RFD. He argues if O'Hare wins approval in September to expand its runways, passengers will lose.

"You are going to have pains when you expand, and the person that gets inconvenienced is the consumer because of delays and cancellations," Martin said.

Martin believes if O'Hare moves forward with the expected $15 billion runway plan, RFD will become a valid alternative for smaller airlines feeling the pinch.

"The city of Chicago is going to go ahead with this project. Somewhere, somehow down the line someone's going to have to pay for it. As we talk to airlines, if we can save them two, three million dollars a year, operating here compared to O'Hare, if we get them to come here they aren't coming back," Martin said.

And with more than half of travelers coming from Iowa, Wisconsin and Metro Chicago, leaders say the study won't slow down RFD's momentum after locking up four airlines in 16 months.

"I think it works well into our favor, with the timing of everything, is that there are going to be delays, there's going to be cancellations, people are continuing to get more frustrated and people are going to be looking for solutions, and we want to be that solution," Martin said.

RFD officials add the new international terminal is on schedule and just weeks from completion. Once the terminal begins its service, leaders plan to continue discussions to bring low-cost service from Rockford to London.


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