Flights To Charlotte, NC Coming To Willard Airport In December

July 11, 2018
Lobby of Willard airport terminal building.

The lobby of the terminal building at Willard Airport, the University of Illinois-owned airport at Savoy, serving the Champaign-Urbana Area.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Last week, Champaign-Urbana’s Willard Airport announced it was losing its United Airlines flights to Chicago, due to a pilot shortage. But this week, the airport has some good news, about new flights to and from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte is the second-busiest hub for American Airlines, which already offers Chicago and Dallas flights in and out of Willard. Beginning December 19, the airline will offer a daily round trip service between the University of Illinois-owned Willard and Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport.

Willard Airport executive director Gene Cossey says American will fly out of Champaign-Urbana in morning, around 9 AM, and fly back from Charlotte in the evening. He says the airline will start its service with a 45-seat airplane.

“And we anticipate that without too long after that, they’re going to increase capacity, either with additional flights, or up-gauging the size of the aircraft,” said Cossey.

Cossey says American Airlines service between Willard Airport and Charlotte marks the first new hub service in the region in more than ten years. And he says opens up new options for one-stop air service to a host of eastern cities.

“So, it’s going to just a lot more additional opportunities for people to get places in one hop,” said Cossey. “It’s going to really open up the southeastern United States, and even some of the southeastern, Caribbean and Mexico destinations that people want to go to.”

The next nearest airport offering American Airlines service to Charlotte is in Peoria, 90 miles from Champaign-Urbana.

In a related note, Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth have announced a federal grant to help Willard Airport rebuild its taxiway. The $1,829,100 Airport Improvement Program grant comes from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration.

Story source: WILL