Airport boss Bob O’Brien is candid on the issue that they need United Service at RFD to be a success.
"It's the largest player operating out of O'hare, so if you bring that product to RFD, why are you going to go to O'hare. So, it's huge. Couple that with the failed attempt with Northwest...we can't afford to have another shortcoming," says Airport Executive Director Bob O'Brien.
By we, O’Brien means the entire community. Hometown air service is not only a convenience, he says, but in terms of business, it's becoming a necessity.
"It's cheaper for the business person to fly to and from the work that they're doing. If it's cheaper for them, it's more economical. If it's more economical, that means these jobs can stay in Rockford, a lot more so then go to another community where they may have an economic advantage of air service where we don't," says O'Brien.
As of Monday, flights from Rockford to Denver aboard the 50 passenger jets, were 65-percent full for the first week of United's service but flights from Denver to Rockford are 31-percent full during the same time period.
"We need to pick up the phone and call friends, family, business colleagues west of Rockford, west of Denver, in Denver, and tell them about the new air service," says O'Brien.
O’Brien says fares are competitive if you book in advance. The goal would be to secure a 3rd or 4th flight a day, lowering prices and providing more options.
"If we can't get your business all the time, we understand that. But if you don't look before you book, we'll never get you. And if we never get you, we won't be able to make it successful, and if we can't make it successful, we won't be able to land Jet Blue," says O'Brien.
O’Brien says there's a lot of promise with united. But he says we only get one chance to make it work.