On August 29, Chicago Rockford airport will operate ‘official anniversary flights’ to Tampa and Las Vegas to celebrate a decade of hosting passenger flights.
In 2001 the airport had been left without any passenger services until, in August 2003, TransMeridian Airlines launched flights to Las Vegas and Orlando.
International flights started in 2005 with flights to Cancun.
RFD attributes the return of passenger flights to a community-backed fundraising effort.
The initiative launched in May 2003, raising $272,000 over 20 days to convince TransMeridian to invest in Rockford.
More than 4,500 local people and 430 businesses gave to the fund, said the airport.
Mike Dunn, RFD’s executive director, said airlines respond to local support for the airport.
“They want to know that if they put a plane here and schedule flights, that tickets will sell," he said.
Chicago Rockford now hosts three passenger airlines – Allegiant, Apple Vacations and Frontier Airlines – and offers direct flights to nine destinations.
"In 2014, we're on pace to surpass two million passengers,” said Dunn.
To mark the anniversary, Allegiant is also giving away two return tickets from RFD to any direct destination.