Director’s Corner – 2022 Newsletter Issue 1

Letter from the Executive Director

Despite the pandemic, it has been a very busy couple of years at Willard Airport. We’ve just completed a set of major projects designed to make your experience better and to ensure not only your comfort, but your safety.

Our terminal has a whole new look.  We’ve replaced all the signage, installed new carpet, and added more passenger amenities like water bottle fillers and charging stations.  New wayfinding makes it easy to locate whatever you need – and our branding now matches our parent – the University of Illinois.  When visitors land at Willard, they’ll know they’ve landed at the home of the Illini.

We also re-built one of our three runways, ensuring safe landings and takeoffs for decades to come.  The $12 million project was almost entirely funded by the federal and State governments – no local tax money was needed.

Right now, we’re getting ready to build a brand new rental car wash facility.  Our car rental companies currently service vehicles in an outdoor enclosure, making it difficult to ensure arriving passengers are assigned clean cars, especially in the cold months of winter.  The rental car companies, through a locally imposed customer facility charge, are paying for the new facility, which should be fully constructed and operational in late 2022.

Passengers are slowly returning.  Airlines are reporting passenger loads within approximately 25% of our pre-pandemic high.  In 2022, our capacity will continue to slowly increase.  We anticipate about 90% of our available seats to be restored by the end of the year, with flight options throughout each day.

We’re not done working for you.  We have in-person meetings scheduled with airline planners throughout the spring.  We continue to work for better flight options and more nonstop cities.

All we ask, is that when you fly, Fly Champaign-Urbana first.

Tim Bannon, AAE

Executive Director

University of Illinois – Willard Airport


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