Travelers will notice changes into 2023, as the Airport works with rental car agencies on a new vehicle service center. Pilots will notice a new taxiway realignment, too. Each project will make the airport safer, and provide a better experience for passengers and those who fly in and out.
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 a tent. It’s far from ideal. The new facility will improve turnaround time, and make rental car agent jobs a lot easier.
The project will be entirely funding through rental car fees, collected each time someone rents a car. Rental car companies are happy to fund the project, because it will make their service at Willard so 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 reconstructing the main taxiway – alpha – that runs alongside the Airport’s longest runway.
Right now, the taxiway has some confusing turns and intersections that can be difficult for a pilot from elsewhere to navigate. The re-aligned runway will make sure that all pilots, regardless of whether or not they have flown to Willard before, can easily get where they’re going on the field.
That project will cost $4.6 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 should get underway in 2023, putting local construction companies back to work.
The Airport is continually identifying areas of the field, and facilities, that need to be improved. On the long term list are further terminal enhancements, including the potential expansion of the TSA screening area, and reconfiguration of the terminal and gate areas.