Chicago Rockford International Airport Announces First-Ever Transatlantic Flights

Discussion in 'ORD/MDW | Chicago Area Airports' started by sobore, Jun 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.wifr.com/economyrockford...rst-Ever_Transatlantic_Flights_123828744.html

    Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) will add, for the first time, transatlantic flights this month, adding low-cost service to the capital cities of Croatia and Serbia on June 17. That will give RFD service to nine world-class destinations, including three international ones.
    Air Plus, a public charter company based in Chicago, will offer the once-weekly flights nonstop to Zagreb, Croatia, with continuing service on to Belgrade, Serbia. Flights will depart RFD Friday evenings and return Sunday afternoons. Flights are public charters on Boeing 767s operated by Swift Air. Flights can be booked at flyairplus.com or by calling 877-849-5002.

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    These will be the first nonstop flights to Zagreb from the Chicago area in nearly two decades, said Dusan Milicevic, general manager of Air Plus. Flights will appeal to the large Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian communities in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and St. Louis, as well as European travelers looking for good deals. These flights will be offered for 13 weeks and already approximately 2,000 seats of the 3,000 total seats have been sold.

    “RFD is perfectly situated between the major cities of the Midwest. Our customers will find unrivaled convenience driving to Rockford, parking for free and heading to southeastern Europe,” said Milicevic. “Arriving in the United States from Europe, they will see much shorter lines clearing U.S. Customs and an overall hassle-free experience.”

    Milicevic said there is high demand for travel between the Midwest and southeastern Europe, especially during these summer months, and a large network of travel agents who cater to that demand. Air Plus also offers tours of Serbia, Croatia and nearby countries. Also, Zagreb and Belgrade offer convenient starting points for other European vacations.

    “This is the first time in RFD’s history that we are providing scheduled transatlantic service and it demonstrates the capabilities we have to service Europe and further drive attention and visibility to additional airlines to our airport for future opportunities,” said Bharat Puri, chairman of the Greater Rockford Airport Authority board of commissioners.

    “This is what we envisioned several years ago when we worked so hard to convince the U.S. Department of HomelandSecurity to open an international terminal at Rockford. We discussed this potential for international charter flights with House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) when I brought him to Rockford last month, and I’m excited to see it coming to fruition so quickly,” Congressman
    Don Manzullo (R-IL) said. “I congratulate Bharat Puri and the rest of the airport authority board for their efforts to land our first ever scheduled transatlantic flight. When the internationaltravelers see how easy it is to get in and out of Rockford, they will no doubt demand more overseas flights.”
     
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  2. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    The Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian communities in Chicago are quite large- there is a built in market for these flights. I wish them success, even though they don't earn miles or points. :)

    3000 seats, 13 weeks, one flight per week- that's about 230 seats per flight. A typical 763 in a two class configuration has around 220 to 240 seats, so if this is one class seating the pitch isn't bad for Y.
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Considering the huge communities of former Yugoslavians in WI, IL, OH, IN, MI the wonder is why it has taken so long, and why there is not a mainline carrier on the route, probably makes little difference which cities, but bow to greater population, I guess. There are large Slovenian populations too. Logically they ought to have codeshare feeders from CLE, DTW, STL, MSP too, but a charter airline cannot really do that. IIRC PanAm made quite good money flying to the Balkans from DTW.
     
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  4. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    The real question is: who's going to book the inaugural flights and write a Trip Report?
     
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  5. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Good guess! According to the swiftair website, this config has 235 seats. There is an image which won't load for me, but assuming it's just the seat map.
     
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  6. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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  7. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Looks like things didn't get off to a smooth start...
     
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  8. Gargoyle
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    Is this what you're referring to?
    http://www.flyswiftair.com/Update.aspx

    I wonder if the government slowdown of the FAA (due to Republican opposition to some union issues) is impacting this, since it has caused 7,000 employee layoffs at the FAA with no end in sight. :(
     
  9. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Yep - the website isn't exactly confidence inspiring. But you may have a point re: FAA.
     

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