The Willard Airport team isn’t done working to make the passenger experience better. As traffic rebounds, more inbound visitors to Champaign-Urbana will be renting cars. The Airport will be working with rental car companies to build a new vehicle service center, ensuring cars are cleaned, disinfected, inspected, and safe.
The $1.2 million project will include a new car wash, right next to the rental car lot. Cars are currently cleaned away from the terminal, in an outdoor enclosure, which is far from ideal. Anytime the temperature outside is below freezing, car washing operations are suspended. The new facility will improve turnaround time, and make rental car agent jobs a lot easier with clean cars 365 days a year.
The project will be entirely funding through rental car concessions fees, collected each time a customer rents a car. Rental car companies are happy to fund the project because it will make their service at Willard much better.
While arriving passengers will notice a big improvement in the car rental experience, the Airport is also working to ensure arriving flights are as safe as possible. Willard will be reconfiguring the midfield taxiways intersection, bringing the geometry of the taxiways into FAA compliance.
Currently near the midfield of the airport, the taxiways have some confusing turns and intersections that can be difficult for a pilot to navigate. The re-aligned taxiways will make sure that all pilots, regardless of whether they have flown to Willard before, can easily get where they’re going on the airfield.
That project will cost approximately $4.0 million. The Airport is working with federal and state agencies on the funding plan right now – but its likely the Airport’s contribution will be less than $250,000. The project will be completed in 2023.
The Airport is continually identifying areas of the airfield, and facilities, that need to be improved. On the long-term list are further terminal enhancements, including the relocation and expansion of the TSA screening checkpoint.