The Chicago/Rockford International Airport (RFD) is conveniently located 85 miles northwest of Chicago. We are presently ranked as the 24th largest cargo airport in the nation and the 226th largest passenger airport.
AIR SERVICE PROVIDERS
· Orlando (non stop)
· Las Vegas (non stop)
· St. Pete - Clearwater (non-stop)
· Denver (non stop and connecting to 100+ destinations)
· Cancun (seasonal service)
RFD Overview & History
The Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) is located 85 miles northwest of Chicago and encompasses over 3,000 acres. We are home to 30 industrial tenants and the largest regional parcel-sorting facility in the UPS system - the only facility of its type that handles coast-to-coast cargo. Our airport has progressively evolved from a general aviation facility to a dynamic commercial service airport. RFD is presently ranked as the 24th largest cargo airport in the nation and the 224th largest passenger airport. Currently, Allegiant Air offers non-stop flights to Orlando,Las Vegas, and Clearwater/St. Pete (Tampa Bay Area); United Airlines flies non-stop to Denver and to over 100 connecting destinations and Apple Vacations offers seasonal service to Cancun. RFD averages between 21-25 flights a week.
RFD is an international airport capable of landing aircraft in Category III conditions. These state-of-the-art facilities, when coupled with runway lengths of 10,000 ft. and 8,200 feet, allow RFD to land any jet aircraft operating in the world today - even under the most adverse conditions. RFD’s modern two-story 50,000 sq. ft. terminal building has a “hassle-free” environment with jet bridge boarding.
RFD is a United States Customs Port of Entry, home to 30 industrial tenants and the Authority is grantee for Foreign Trade Zone #176. The diverse activities at RFD cause it to have a greater economic impact on the region it serves than any other commercial service airport in the State of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago 's system of airports.
Over the past few years more than $183 million has been invested in infrastructure improvements and facilities at RFD aimed at making your experience safe, efficient, and hassle-free. A majority of dollars spent on these projects were funded through local, state, and federal grants. The completion of these projects has allowed us to position ourselves to accommodate the tremendous growth in passenger and cargo services at RFD.
Our organization is unique in the fact that although we have aggressively completed and invested in many recent capital improvement projects over the past several years - at the same time - we hope to aggressively pay down our debt and cut our property tax rate by 65% as soon as June 2007.
Some of these project highlights include:
· RFD Parking Expansion
· Beltline Road Expansion
· Terminal Enhancements
· Hangar Development
· Addition of Snow Removal Equipment Building
· Addition of International Arrival Gate
· Remodel/Expansion of Fire Station #7
· New UPS Sorting Facility
In 1917, during World War I, the Rockford Airport then named "Camp Grant," was a U.S. Army Calvary Camp. During World War II the Army transformed Camp Grant into a military training base and a prisoner of war detainment camp. In 1946 the State of Illinois adopted the Airport Authorities Act; thus the Greater Rockford Airport Authority was created. The Authority is an independent municipal corporation of the State of Illinois.
February 26, 1946 - President Harry S. Truman signed the deed transferring ownership
of the 1,600 acre tract of land that had been the U.S. Army’s Camp Grant during WW I
and WW II to the Greater Rockford Airport Authority.
May 14, 1946 - The first meeting of the Board Commissioners of the Greater Rockford
Airport Authority was held at 3 p.m. in the office of the Mayor of the City of Rockford.
The following were present: Kimball L. Finkenstaedt, Harry Shaw, Glenn Alberstett,
Swan Hillman, and Foster Smith.
1947 - For his decisive role in helping the Authority acquire Camp Grant land, Senator
Scott W. Lucas was the guest of honor and broke the first ground at the ceremony
celebrating the Authority’s acquisition of an airport site. Construction plans were to be
completed in six phases.
October 21, 1949 - During the latter part of 1949, the first phase of construction
was completed which included removal of obstructions, grading and paving of three
runways 4,100 feet long by 100 feet wide, and ramp area. Phase I work was completed
just in time for Governor Adlai Stevenson’s aircraft to land for a visit at Rockford.
This statement holds as true today as it did June 26, 1951, when it was made by
Kimball L. Finkenstaedt, first chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Greater
Rockford Airport Authority.
1950 – Commercial airline service established.
September 26, 1950 – Mid-Continent Airlines begins Rockford-Chicago service.
January 5, 1951 – Mid-Continent’s service level goes to 10 flights daily.
May 16, 1951– Ozark Airlines begins Rockford-St Louis service.
June 15, 1952 – Mid-Continent and Braniff International Airlines merge, keeping the
June 11, 1958 – Ozark boards its 100,000th Rockford passenger.
1958 - Completion of a weather station in 1958 gave Greater Rockford Airport one of
the nation’s finest federal facilities. It includes the FAA Flight service station, built in
1950, and the US weather bureau building.
1958 – Ozark Airlines enplanes 28,000 people, recording it as the best year of travel at
the Rockford airport.
1960s– Rockford was the Experimental Aircraft Association’s original home before moving
to Oshkosh, WI in 1963. The control tower chalked up a world record for total operations
(takeoffs and landings) in one day--4, 766 by 2,800 aircraft. The event would continue to grow
throughout the decade before eventually relocating to Oshkosh.
May 1, 1961– Ozark begins first Rockford service to the new O’Hare International Airport in
RFD’s Instrument Landing System goes into service this same year.
June 2, 1962– Chicago City Council grants permission to Peoria-Rockford Bus Company to
provide Rockford-O’Hare service.
1962– Woodward Governor becomes the first industry to lease airport land to construct its
1963– Among Illinois airports conducting instrument operations, Rockford was ranked fourth.
1965 – Two runways were long enough to serve the largest expected aircraft by 1965. The
north-south runway had grown to 6,000 ft. and the northeast-southwest runway to 5,000 ft.
Sept. 12, 1967– Commuter Air Service begins flights
between Greater Rockford Airport and two Chicago
airports, O’Hare and Meigs Field.
October 1, 1970 – Ozark begins Rockford-Washington
D.C. service with DC-9 jetliners and would later add
package delivery service. Greater Rockford Airport
Authority’s Washington legal counsel files for CAB
approval of hyphenation with Chicago.
1971 – Runway 18-36 was constructed to
accommodate jumbo jets.
1976 – Gerald Ford becomes the 3rd President to visit
1976 -The USAF Thunderbirds make an appearance
at the airport, attracting between 30,000 and 50,000
April 25, 1976 - Ozark Airlines launches its new Rockford-Denver jet airliner service.
March 12, 1978 – Coleman Air Transport begins Rockford-Detroit service.
May 11, 1978 - Coleman begins service to Minneapolis-St Paul.
May 1, 1980 – Trans-World Airlines begins Rockford– O’Hare service with
Boeing 727 jetliners.
April 29, 1984 – American Central Airlines begins service to Detroit with
three flights daily.
June 8, 1984 – Frontier Airlines begins service to Denver with three daily
July 1, 1986 – Britt Airways replaces Frontier Airlines.
July 4, 1986 - RFD hosts its first AirFest. Over the years, Midwest AirFest
landed some great acts including the Thunderbirds’ second visit to
Rockford in 1988. Midwest AirFest continued for eight years.
September 1987– RFD Celebrated that opening of if it’s new 50,000 sq.
ft. terminal. Over 3,000 people attended the grand opening celebration.
July 1988 – The Greater Rockford Airport Authority hired Fredrick C.
Ford as it’s new executive director. Within a year, an air cargo facility equipped with ground
support equipment was developed, an office was established for U.S customs, commercial air
service was improved, and an application was submitted for a Foreign Trade Zone. (FTZ #176
was approved March 1991.)
April 1989 – Emery Worldwide marks the long-awaited beginning of air cargo service at RFD.
The service would generate about $25,000 annually for the airport, and fuel and loading contracts
for two airport tenants.
1986 to 2000 - Northwest Airlink provides air service from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN to
Rockford, IL. Detroit, MI service was added in 1996 and continued through 2001.
1989 to 1997 - Skyway Airlines provides air service from Milwaukee, WI and Detroit, MI to
July 1990 – Soviet fighter jets perform for the first time in the United States at the Rockford
AirFest. The air show attracted over 60,000 spectators, generating more than a half a million
tourism dollars in the Rockford area.
1990 – American Airlines (American Eagle) provides service from Rockford to Chicago
December 19, 1993 – United Parcel Service announces they would bring 300 jobs to the
community, with the possibility of creating 500 more in the years to follow.
1994 – United Parcel Service moves to the Greater Rockford Airport creating the second
largest sorting hub in their world-wide network. Emery Air begins providing services to UPS,
including over 16,000,000 gallons of jet fuel per year.
2000 & 2001 - Northwest Airlink stops their service from Minneapolis/St. Paul & Detroit.
March 25, 2002 - Bob O’Brien begins his first day of work as the executive director of RFD.
July 8, 2003 - Over 2,000 people gathered at RFD to show their support of TransMeridian Airlines’
(TMA) new service.
August 2003 - After two years without passenger service, TMA begins non-stop flights to Orlando
and Las Vegas ( service ended September 30, 2005).
July 14, 2006 - RFD hosts a ribbon cutting for the new Snow Removal Equipment Building.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was instrumental in assisting RFD in securing federal grant dollars to
fund this project that replaced the original building built in 1946.
February 2004 - Hooters Air starts service to Atlanta, Denver, and Las Vegas. Additional
destinations were subsequently added including Myrtle Beach and Clearwater/St. Pete. (service
ended December 2005)
January 27, 2005 - RFD hosts a ribbon cutting and tour of the International Arrival Gate facility.
Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL 16th) was instrumental in facilitating discussions which directly
lead to the development and funding of this project making RFD an international-grade airport.
February 2005 - SunShip1 provides RFD’s first international flight to Cancun (service ended July
2005). Vacation Express provides connecting service to Mexico and Caribbean through Orlando
(service ended September 30, 2005)
March 2005 - RFD completes series of terminal enhancement projects including: expansion of
passenger hold area, parking, new baggage carrousel, and the addition of two additional jet
May 2, 2005 - Northwest Airlines begins service to Detroit (service ended January 2006).
August 2005 - RFD hosts its first air show in 10 years. AirFest 2005 attracted over 30,000
September 2005 - Over $45 million dollars of merchandise was reported to have passed
through FTZ #176 the previous year.
November & December, 2005 - Allegiant Air begins service to Las Vegas and Orlando,
replacing the service once offered by TMA.
February 11, 2006 - Apple Vacations starts non-stop service to Cancun.
March 3, 2005 - United Airlines begins non-stop service to Denver.
March 2, 2006 - Festival Airlines hosts a press conference to announce that this new Chicagobased
airline will be offering numerous nonstop vacation destinations from RFD to begin in fall
August 17, 2006 - RFD hosts a 60-Year Anniversary celebration in the Terminal. Hundreds of supporters attend the event.
Fast Facts & Stats
· RFD is the three-letter FAA airport code for the Chicago/Rockford International Airport
· RFD is 75 minutes northwest of Chicago O’Hare; 58 nautical miles
· RFD is 5x the “land mass” of Chicago Midway Airport
· RFD’s primary runway is 10,000 feet long; 35% larger than Chicago Midway’s longest runway
· The second runway is 8,200 feet long (still larger than Chicago Midway’s longest)
· RFD’s primary runway is equipped with the sophisticated Category II/III Instrument Landing System (ILS); the only other Midwestern airports with CAT II/III ILS are: MSP, MKE, ORD, DTW, IND, STL.
· RFD’s airspace is independently separate from Chicago O’Hare and the FAA Control Tower is operated 24/7, 365 days per year (no delays or cancellations due to congestion or weather)
· RFD has an “International Arrival Gate” operated by US Customs and Federal Inspection Services (FIS), with 24/7 availability. Apple Vacations currently provides non-stop service to Cancun, Mexico from RFD.
· RFD charges “NO” airport rents or fees in conjunction with the use of the International Arrival Gate
· RFD has a modern two story, highly-efficient Terminal Building with three jet bridge positions for regional jet operations handling aircraft as large as the Boeing 767. RFD can land and launch any airline in the world capable of non-stop flying to Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.
· RFD is the 25th largest air cargo airport in the entire U.S.; growing quickly from 120th in 1995. Air cargo operators include: United Parcel Service (3rd largest cargo sorting operation in their system), BAX Global, and DHL.
· RFD has aggressively pursued passenger air service development, rising from the 630th largest
passenger service airport in 2002 to 224th in 2005. Airline operators currently providing service are:
United Airlines to Denver with connections to over 100 destinations; Allegiant Air to Las Vegas, Orlando, Clearwater/St. Pete (Tampa Bay Area); and Apple Vacations to Cancun, Mexico.
· RFD’s landing fees are 52% cheaper than Chicago O’Hare’s most-favored rate; RFD $1.964 per 1,000 pounds verses $2.99 at ORD
· RFD’s terminal use rents and fees are based on a per passenger cost between $4 and $5 each.
RFD has “no” overnight aircraft parking fees.