RFD celebrates new cargo centre

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Chicago Rockford International Airport is celebrating numerous initiatives that have positively impacted jobs, enhanced the region’s reputation and further driven the area’s economic development efforts.

Among the many projects the Airport and its partners have announced and/or achieved in just the past few months include the construction of the new $50 million international cargo centre, the AAR/United Airlines partnership and the $19 million UPS ramp expansion.

RFD is a major economic engine for the Rock River Valley, and Northern Illinois, creating skilled jobs in aviation, transportation, logistics and construction. Over the past year, RFD and its partners have created over 1,000 new jobs bringing the total jobs on the airport campus to over 8,000.

International Cargo Centre

In February, RFD announced the construction of the new international cargo centre designed to accommodate daily multiple aircraft landings and departures containing international destination freight. The estimated total construction budget for the new facility is $50 million dollars. This figure includes the construction of two buildings, a new ramp for airplane parking and a new road.

In October 2020, RFD announced the construction of a 90,000-square-foot cargo facility. This building is now a part of a new international cargo centre. In addition to the first 90,000-square-foot building, the airport also will construct a 100,000-square-foot building, a new ramp to accommodate six 747 aircraft, and a new road that will extend off Baxter Road to accommodate tractor/trailer traffic to and from the facility.

RFD is home to a continually growing air cargo industry and is ranked as the 19th largest airport in the United States for air cargo with more than 2.7 billion pounds (1.2 metric tons) of landed weight in 2020.The Airport is the second largest UPS hub in North America and a base of operations for Amazon Air. In 2019, RFD was named the fastest-growing cargo airport in the world. The airport campus also encompasses an aviation maintenance repair facility capable of servicing next-generation aircraft, as well as an aviation maintenance program that is turning out a well-trained and skilled workforce.

AAR/United Airlines Partnership

In April, AAR announced it had signed a multi-year agreement to perform maintenance on United Airlines’ narrow-body aircraft fleet at its maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility at RFD. The Rockford site will handle the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet and other aircraft. The service agreement runs through 2025. The agreement will bring 250 new jobs to the region.

AAR will continue to leverage its EAGLE Career Pathway Program with a nationwide network of schools which includes Rock Valley College. The EAGLE Program is designed to provide a path for high school and colleges students to develop their careers at AAR and beyond.  

$16 Million Ramp Expansion

RFD recently announced that the existing UPS ramp will be expanded to accommodate aircraft parking.  The apron expansion will provide parking positions for six 747 aircrafts. Local companies William Charles Construction Company and Sjostrom & Sons will oversee the ramp construction.