Letter from the Executive Director – May 2023

Willard Airport is gearing up for a busy summer – one of the busiest in the last decade.  With new, larger jets  now operating all flights, American Airlines will offer approximately 50% more seats than the last couple of summers.  TSA checkpoints will be busy, make sure to check-in and drop off your checked baggage at least 45 minutes before your flight departs.

If you don’t want to check a bag, you can carry-on with more ease than ever before.  All flights at Willard now have dual-class aircraft, with larger overhead bins.  That means you likely won’t have to gate-check your roll aboard.

Larger jets are serving Willard in response to high demand for airline tickets.  In 2022, our Airport served more than 120,000 total passengers, or an average of almost 330 per day.  Those passengers filled 86% of the seats American offered – the highest share of seats filled since American started serving Willard.

We continue to share that data with both American, and other carriers, as we work to secure additional flights.  We know each additional airline seat generates $77 in economic activity in Champaign County.  We take our role as an economic driver for the community very seriously.

We also take safety seriously.  I was proud to congratulate my team on a perfect FAA inspection in April.  Discrepancy-free inspections are a rarity, and we’ve had them for two years in a row.  That takes amazing dedication to detail and illustrates our commitment to our tenants and our travelers.

We hope you’ll come and see all that we’ve done to make flying easier.  As always, we hope you’ll Fly Champaign-Urbana first.

Tim Bannon, A.A.E.
Executive Director
University of Illinois – Willard Airport

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