Airport Leaders Discouraged, Not Deflated After Northwest Leaves RFD

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

"Northwest made it pretty clear to us in their bankruptcy plan- markets like Rockford we're not going to survive," Mike Dunn said.

With Northwest leaving area runways on January 3rd, Rockford airport board chairman Mike Dunn is discouraged, but not deflated. He says quite simply, NWA's Detroit service didn't fill enough seats, or bring in enough dollars.

"We were climbing until about July and doing very well, and since the mechanics strike and the bankruptcy we saw those numbers fall off fairly dramatically," Dunn said.

For area travel agents, the Northwest numbers didn't fall off to and from Detroit, they barely got off the ground.

"We didn't book very many. I would say maybe five or six that flew out of Rockford, they thought about it, but usually went out of O'Hare because of the price difference," Veronika Markgraf said.

Dunn says the airport talked to Northwest repeatedly about lowering the local fares, but their requests fell on deaf ears. However, the airport staff remains optimistic. They're fired up about United, and other low-fare carriers set to take off in near future.

"There are now airlines that are calling us, and we're talking to them, and certainly one of our big goals will be replacing Northwest to the east," Dunn said.


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