Chicago Rockford International Airport
|Chicago Rockford International Airport|
|IATA: RFD – ICAO: KRFD – FAA LID: RFD|
|Owner||Greater Rockford Airport Authority|
|Hub for||UPS Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||742 ft / 226 m|
|Total enplanements||106,412 3.76%|
|Total landed cargo weight (in lbs.)||822,206,730 lbs -7.48%|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Chicago Rockford International Airport (IATA: RFD, ICAO: KRFD, FAA LID: RFD), is a general aviation and commercial airport in Winnebago County, Illinois. It is 68 miles (109 km) northwest of Chicago and four miles (6 km) south of Rockford. The airport served over 215,000 passengers in 2007.
RFD traces its history back to 1917, when Camp Grant was established during World War I as an U.S. Army Cavalry Camp. During the events of World War II, Camp Grant was made into a military training base and prisoner of war confinement center.
Following the war, the state of Illinois adopted the Airport Authority Act. The Greater Rockford Airport Authority was created in 1946. For more than forty years, the facility was referred to as the Greater Rockford Airport, serving the area as a regional airport. In 1987, the current passenger terminal was constructed in an effort to attract more passenger service. Six years later, United Parcel Service opened its first of two cargo facilities at the airport. The location became a selling point as a transportation facility for cargo as well as for passengers. However, declining passenger numbers led to the temporary loss of scheduled passenger airline service in 2001. Although the Rockford airport had previously had flights to O'Hare Airport, for many residents, it was far more affordable to get to Chicago by bus or by their own car and then fly. In 2003, passenger service was restored to the airport as the facility marketed itself towards leisure travelers; instead of offering regional service primarily to O'Hare or other Midwestern destinations, Rockford offered low-cost flights to Florida.
In an effort to capitalize on the airport's location (less than 90 miles (145 km) from downtown Chicago and about 30 miles (48 km) from the outermost Chicago suburbs), its name was changed to the Northwest Chicagoland Regional Airport at Rockford in the early 2000s. In 2004, the airport became an official US port of entry and achieved international status; that year, it was renamed the Chicago/Rockford International Airport (the slash was removed in 2007). The name was not only shorter, but the change also brought it in line with the other two "Chicago" airports (O'Hare and Midway). In many forms of media, the airport also markets itself by its three FAA/IATA call letters: RFD.
Today the Rockford airport is marketed to residents of Rockford and surrounding areas as an alternative to Chicago Midway International Airport and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, WI and Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin as well as limited service airports such as Dubuque Regional Airport in Iowa. The airlines at RFD also often use their low fares and free airport parking as a selling point as well.
|This article is outdated. (January 2012)|
Chicago Rockford International Airport covers 2,900 acres (1,200 ha) and has two runways, both with an ILS: 1/19 is 8,199 x 150 ft. (2,499 x 46 m) and 7/25 is 10,004 x 150 ft. (3,049 x 46 m). In 2006 the airport had 77,558 aircraft operations, average 212 per day: 72% general aviation, 18% scheduled commercial, 6% air taxi and 3% military.
The current terminal was built in 1987 in an effort to expand airline service in Rockford, but the common use of bus service to O'Hare International Airport kept most airlines away from Rockford. Passenger service was lost completely from 2001 to 2003. An upgrade to the terminal in 2005 brought more jetways, escalators, and improved baggage handling equipment (the previous system catered to smaller turboprop aircraft rather than jets).
RFD has two cargo aprons in use. In November 2008 a third one was completed along the west end of runway 7/25 (southwest of the existing UPS ramp), but there are no current tenants.
- West Cargo Apron
The larger north cargo apron is next to the main terminal; it is home to the UPS facilities.
- South Cargo Apron
The smaller south cargo apron between the two runways is home to BAX Global and (DHL) cargo operations.
Airlines and destinations
|Allegiant Air||Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, St. Petersburg/Clearwater|
|Apple Vacations operated by Frontier Airlines||Seasonal: Cancun, Puerto Vallarta,  Punta Cana|
|2||Las Vegas, NV||19,000||Allegiant|
|4||St. Petersburg, FL||17,000||Allegiant|
RFD was once the company headquarters for Ryan International Airlines, staging many of its aircraft at the airport for charter hire. Ryan ceased all operations in 2013. Due to its proximity to Chicago O'Hare/Chicago Midway and Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, RFD serves as the primary diversion airport for 27 major airlines including American Airlines, United Airlines, Air France, British Airways, Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic.
Several airlines have previously served the airport including United Express, Hooters Air, Frontier, Midwest Connect, Midway Connection, Trans Meridian, American Eagle, TWA, Ozark, McClain, Direct Air, Northwest Airlink (Mesaba and Pinnacle), etc. TWA had Boeing 727-200 service from Rockford to O'Hare in the 1980s for a short while. The original Frontier also served Rockford from 1984 until late 1986 when the operation was transferred to Britt Airways for a short time. Coleman Air Transport also had a hub operation at RFD in the latter part of the 1970s. Direct Air served the airport until March 2012.
- Recent (since 2002)
- Direct Air
- United Express
- Hooters Air
- Ryan International Airlines
- TransMeridian Airlines
- Northwest Airlink (Mesaba, Pinnacle)
- Historical (before 2002)
- Trans World Airlines (TWA)
- Frontier Airlines
- American Eagle
- Ozark Air Lines
- McClain Airlines
- Skyway Airlines
- Coleman Air Transport (hub)
Air shows have played an integral role in the history of the Rockford Airport. From 1959 to 1969, the Annual Convention and Fly-In of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was held at the Greater Rockford Airport. Due to lack of space, the convention moved to its present location in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1970. In 1986, airshows returned to Rockford with the start of the Midwest AirFest. From 1986 to 1994, the show would twice feature the Air Force Thunderbirds.
After an 11-year hiatus, the airport resumed hosting airshows (re-branded as the Rockford AirFest) in 2005.
- Headline Performers
2006: USAF Thunderbirds
2007: US Navy Blue Angels
2008: USAF Thunderbirds
2009: USAF F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team
2010: USAF Thunderbirds
2011: US Navy Blue Angels (cancelled), Black Diamond Jet Team
2012: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
2013: U.S. Navy Blue Angels (cancelled)
The historic Bell Bowl, a natural amphitheater on the south side of the airport, was the venue for the 16th (and currently, final) Wing Ding concert on May 24, 2009. Shinedown headlined, with support from Saliva, Saving Abel, Powerman 5000, 10 Years, and more.
- Passenger Boarding (Enplanement) and All-Cargo Data for U.S. Airports, Federal Aviation Administration, FAA.gov
- FAA CY12 Cargo Airports
- FAA Airport Master Record for RFD ( PDF), effective 2007-10-25
- Rockford Area Economic Development Council | Helping Employers Retain and Create Quality Jobs
- The Passenger Seat » Another airport name change (this time, it’s simple)
- "Apple Vacations Rockford-Cancun". Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Rockford Airport to offer nonstop service to Puerto Vallarta". Rock River Times. May 31, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- "New Flight to Punta Cana-Rockford". Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Statistics 2012". Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- Heath, Dan (April 12, 2012). "Direct Air bankruptcy goes to Chapter 7". Plattsburgh Press-Republican. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
- FlyRFD.com, official website for Chicago Rockford International Airport
- (PDF), effective March 6, 2014
- Resources for this airport: