Help bring air service back to Rockford

Help bring air service back to Rockford


n Rockford Chamber pledges marketing support for airport’s plan to get passenger air service; urges businesses and individuals to do the same

This is a supplement to the Council of 100 Leadership letter issued last week. Please feel free to forward to others.

The Northwest Chicagoland Regional Airport at Rockford is on the verge of making a deal to get weekly flights to Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.—but this is only possible with the significant financial backing of the community. An unidentified airline is poised to offer weekly flights in Rockford if area businesses and individuals will pledge $250,000 toward marketing the flights by June 15. The Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board will match with $250,000.

The Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce has committed $8,900 in in-kind advertising and promotional support toward a marketing package to be presented to the airline. The Chamber package includes ads in The VOICE, the Chamber Yearbook, Web site banner advertising and event sponsorships. The Chamber also pledged to ask our members, the business community and individual citizens to pledge their support as well.

“Air transportation represents a crucial component of the successful economic growth and future vitality of our region,” said Chamber President Ryan Petty. “We wholeheartedly support the airport’s work in attracting air passenger service. Sufficient air service can open our region to a host of new facility locations and provide the kind of leverage we need in economic development.”

To donate, the airport requests checks from individuals or businesses (no cash) made out to “GRAA, Air Service Marketing Fund,” or letters pledging financial support from businesses, which may be sent to: Greater Rockford Airport, 60 Airport Dr., Rockford, IL 61109. Businesses may fax the letters to: 815-965-7205. Reminder: the deadline is June 15.

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This additional information is provided by the airport, courtesy of Bob Levin of the Council of 100:

Las Vegas & Orlando Initiative

Scheduled Low-Fare Airline Proposal:

n Four flights per week, Rockford to Las Vegas, starting October 2003

n Two flights per week, Rockford to Orlando, starting shortly after the Vegas flights

n Fare of approximately $99 per leg

n To secure this airline, Rockford needs to provide $500,000 in checks and pledges by June 15 to fund marketing of the service:

—Airport will provide $250,000

—Community must raise $250,000. $10 citizen donations recommended.

Existing demand, flights from O’Hare and Midway only: (Rockford’s share of the above, using proposed number of weekly flights, at 165 seats/flight)

n Las Vegas – 1,400,000 passengers per year (34,320 or 2.4 percent)

n Orlando – 1,100,000 passengers per year (17,160 or 1.6 percent)

Why the proposal and strategy make sense:

n 2.3 million air passengers live within 50 minutes driving time from Rockford

n Destinations are at the top of Rockford’s business and leisure destinations (see below)

Donors can’t lose. If the venture does not materialize, they get their money back.

If the venture materializes, Rockford stands to gain $1 million per year in federal grant entitlements (10,000 passengers per year are needed; the venture would give us more than 50,000 passengers per year). In other words, we would get double our investment back ($1 million for a $500,000 investment).

Rockford is the single taxing entity in the region that is actively working to remove itself from the tax rolls. The $1 million/year would help achieve that!

In the competitive environment of regional airports, it is not unusual for communities to pay “up front” money:

n Dubuque is presently trying to put together $350,000 to qualify for federal support

n Moline spends approx. $400,000 per year for advertising

n Springfield spends approx. $250,000 per year for advertising

Business & Leisure Destinations, per Rockford surveys:

Top 15 destinations for business/leisure

For Business For Leisure

Detroit Las Vegas

Las Vegas Orlando

Atlanta Phoenix

Dallas/Ft. Worth Denver

Denver Ft. Myers

Washington, D.C. Ft. Lauderdale

Phoenix Tampa

Orlando Miami

New York New Orleans

Minneapolis New York

Nashville Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dallas/Ft. Worth

Ft. Myers San Francisco

Cleveland Washington

Kansas City Altlanta

For additional information visit

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