ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Nearly 1.4 billion pounds of cargo traveled through the Chicago-Rockford International Airport in 2017, a 50 percent increase compared to the year before. Thanks to continued federal funding, the airport is once again looking to expand its footprint.
Airport officials say the demand for more cargo and runway space continues to grow. New federal funding just announced will continue to allow more aircraft to use the airports increasing international cargo center. Officials say this expansion would also eventually lead to not only more jobs, but also more airlines looking to expand service into the Rockford market.
"We believe that we have been identified, we've been found, as I said earlier, and I think that's going to lead to more and more airlines, both passenger and cargo, wanting to do business here because it's so easy to get to and from Chicago," said RFD Executive Director Mike Dunn.
"It's all about using our strength. I think this name, Chicago-Rockford International, really symbolizes our ultimate goal. Making sure we have a metropolitan area that stretches all the way from Lake Michigan, all the way to Winnebago County and beyond, and this Rockford Airport is going to be the anchor and the engine of that economic growth," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.
In a statement, 16th District Congressman Adam Kinzinger said, " Improving our aging infrastructure is critical, and I’m proud to see this Administration and our Republican majority pass legislation that follows through on this priority. In March, the House passed the FY2018 Omnibus, which included funding to improve our nation’s crumbling infrastructure through grant projects on transportation, energy, water, and broadband. In April, the House passed the FAA Reauthorization Act and in early June, the Department of Transportation allocated infrastructure resources to areas like our very own Rockford International Airport."
Construction is underway on both projects; the new ramp expansion will be complete by October followed by the new cargo building in early 2019.