Chicago Rockford International Airport

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

When you think of passenger air travel in northern Illinois, O'Hare often comes to mind. But Rockford's facility, officially known as Chicago Rockford International Airport, is making a greater name for itself, particularly in the realm of cargo.

In 1994, officials with United Parcel Service, better known as UPS, made a deal with airport authorities to set up a sorting hub. Since then, it's become the company's second largest air operation in the world.

Cargo Business Is Skyrocketing At RFD

Jul 24, 2018
Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

The Chicago Rockford International Airport is now the 22nd busiest airport in the nation for cargo volume. The airport rose from a ranking of 31st in 2016. Airport Executive Director Mike Dunn said Rockford has the necessary infrastructure to support both cargo and passenger operations.

“Well, it’s been a curious contemplation by myself and people at the airport to determine what would come or explode first at the airport -- the cargo operations or the passenger operations, and obviously, it’s the cargo operations,” Dunn said.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Members of Illinois' congressional delegation marked improvements at Chicago Rockford International Airport Monday.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and Senator Dick Durbin broke ground on an expansion to the airport’s international cargo building, along with a new ramp for cargo plane parking. Bustos says the airport has made significant investments, and these upgrades will further increase efficiency.

The delivery of air cargo is a $35 billion proposition, and  the officials say Rockford is doing a great job of tapping into that.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

 Four people were injured when a small plane crashed at the Chicago Rockford International Airport Monday evening.

Deputy Chief Brian Kunce with the airport fire department said the King Air C-90 twin-engine plane was about 200 yards from a runway when it stuck a ditch, bounced over a fence and came to rest on the airport grounds. Kunce says the plane didn't catch fire.  

The extent of the injuries was not immediately known. Two people -- one of whom was unconscious -- had to be extricated from the plane.  

Rockford Area Economic Development Council

AAR is looking for 30 new mechanics September to work in its jet-repair hub at Chicago-Rockford International Airport.  

The company held a job fair yesterday aimed at increasing its Rockford staff to 150.  AAR officials, including facility manager Wayne Jamroz,  said United Airlines and AeroMexico have used the Rockford facility, and it eventually will employ at least 500 workers, and possibly up to a thousand.  

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Federal, state, and local officials celebrated the beginning of Phase Two of a huge improvement project at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport Monday.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Chicago Rockford International Airport secured $8.3 million in federal grants Thursday. 

The announcement came yesterday from U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin. The Rockford Register Star reports the grants will go toward two main projects.