July 05, 2007


I know this gets boring, but how many times do I have to say it?? Forget about the consultants and the studies-simply copy what Rockford Airport does!!! Story by Tom Bona from the Rockford Register. Couple of things to keep in mind, 1) why is this secondary airport able to succeed after 9/11 (common excuse), 2) able to keep Allegiant happy, 3) potentially reach 250,000 this year while ORH is on track for no passengers and 4) potentially expect 10 major announcements this year? Here is the link or you can read the whole story below:

Airport pushes to add routes
Use of current lineup grows, but not enough to hit goal for year.

Click here for more information about Thomas V. Bona

ROCKFORD — Halfway through 2007, Chicago/Rockford International Airport has seen more than 100,000 passengers come and go — well ahead of last year’s pace. Still, officials who hope to reach the stated goal of 250,000 passengers for the year will have to convince an airline to add flights, because even if they filled the rest of 2007’s scheduled flights, they’d come up short.

“It’s still very doable, it’s still within reach, things are still lining up as we would hope,” Executive Director Bob O’Brien said Tuesday. “There’s a strong potential that we’ll be adding one or two airlines and/or destinations.” In June, 18,286 passengers flew in and out of Rockford, a 12 percent increase from last June. For the year, 114,575 passengers flew here, a 35 percent increase from this time last year.

Airplanes were on average 91 percent full, the most of any month so far this year and above the industry average of 80 percent. United Airlines’ Denver route was again the most popular with 5,215 passengers. Allegiant Air’s route to Orlando had 4,913 passengers, and its route to Las Vegas had 4,785. The Las Vegas planes were 94 percent full.

O’Brien said those numbers make good arguments for more flights a week on those routes. Allegiant actually is cutting flights to Florida throughout its system this fall. There won’t be any flights between Rockford and Clearwater/St. Petersburg from Aug. 24 to Oct. 18. Orlando will drop to 16 flights in September and 28 in October before returning to the mid-30s for the winter.

“We will have a seasonal reduction in service in August/September. This will also happen in Fort Wayne, Lansing, Peoria, Roanoke and Toledo and is based on traffic demands for Florida,” Allegiant spokeswoman Tyri Squyres said. “You will also notice on the Web site that we are already booking October through February for those flights.”

Also returning in December are weekly flights to Cancun. According to Apple Vacations’ Web site, the first flight is Dec. 22. O’Brien said airport officials are lobbying Apple Vacations to add a second weekly flight since last winter’s flights were on average 96 percent full. O’Brien said the airport could have as many as 10 major announcements with companies it works with this year, including airlines and development partners.

He expects an announcement on the airport’s “Charters for Starters” program in the next month or two. The airport plans to charter airplanes for yearlong routes to Fort Myers, Fla., and the New York City and Phoenix areas with the program. It would take about three months after an announcement to start any new service, O’Brien said.

Airport officials previously said they’re interested in flying to the Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip for the New York service in an effort to get Southwest Airlines to take over the route when the year is done. But with Southwest recently cutting three daily flights from Midway International Airport to Islip, O’Brien said officials are thinking about their plans.
Another possibility is for a Myrtle Beach airline to start service from there to Rockford in March.


Anonymous said...

Clive Mcfarlands column today discusses the ongoing squabble between Union Station Restaurant and the city. Mr Mcfarland quotes Julie Jacobsen as follows:

“He (the restuarant) has a legally binding lease that he needs to honor. We need to ensure that the tenant is not receiving any benefits that no other tenant is receiving. How is that fair to the other businesses in the city?”

May I ask how fair it is to other businesses that The Hand It Over Theatre (Old EM Loews) gets a multi million dollar Grant from the city and then the frosting on the cake is the city councils 198,000 waiver of fee permits. Granted the theater is not a tenant, but an owner, but IMO the analogy holds. The frosting on the cake is that Union Station restaurant pays taxes and the The Hand It Over Theatre is a non profit, non taxing paying entity.

Time to run some of these double talking councilllors who are so keen on taxing nonprofits outta town! They're speakin' outta both sides of their collective mouths !

Speaking of honoring ones duties.........where is the Fiscal 2008 budget Mr & Mrs Councillor? and also where is the Union Station Parking Garage promised to the restaurant?

Bill Randell said...


Here is how I feel about the Union Station Restaurant. He responded to an RFP on his own free will, nobody forced him to bid. The bid was awarded to him and he signed a contract and it needs to be honored.

If he signed a lease that did not have escape clauses or reductions in rent, for delay in the parking garage/construction projects to the rotaty, etc--who is to blame?? How would the owner feel if the garage was built faster then expected and the City of Worcester tried to go up on the rent in the lease???

A lease is signed to be followed or eviction follows.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I agree w/your 1st paragraph, however if the promosed parking facilites did not materialize as planned or promised.........then i think the guy has a plausible argument for damamges.

Frankly, I still thihnk that site is a hard sell even with a parking garage. Maybe when Front St is punched through, it may become a more viable situation.

How would you feel if you saw The Hanover Theatre getting all these free goodies from the city and The Hanover with it's function facilities ends up competing with you, the U. S. Restaurant.......or.......in the alternate a non profit housing developer spends 100's thousand of Gov't money (your tax dollars) putting up new houses right next to your property that are then sold off to your tenants by the non profit dev'er for $.35 on the dollar?

Anonymous said...

The Rockford Airport seems to be operating on strong leadership,communication, and business oriented goals. Always a good model for success

Bill Randell said...


I feel for the owner of the restaurant, I do, but if he really thought the City was going to build a garage in two years where has he been the last twenty years.

In the lease he should have made provisions to reduce the lease payments if certain things, like a garage,was not completed. Did he hire a lawyer to help him execute the lease with the City of Worcester or did he did it himself to save a few bucks?


Bill Randell said...


You are correct about your assessment of Rockford. I can find out more information and much easier about Rockford then I can about ORH.


Anonymous said...

Rockford blogger

John: I second that motion. We are VERY fortunate to have leaders like Bob O' Brien, Mike Dunn, and excellent board members and airport staff. Community and regional awareness is vital too. We are gradually achieving that too.

Anonymous said...

Any chance we could entice Bob O'Brien and Mike Dunn to ORH