Airline temporarily suspends most flights

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SAVOY, Ill. (WCIA) — American Airlines has temporarily suspended all flights from Willard Airport to Dallas Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare. It’s because there has been a low demand for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Passengers were were caught off guard when they realized their flights had been cancelled. Susan Frobish had booked a flight from Willard Airport to Colorado Springs. Her travel plans took a detour. She usually flies out of Willard because of the connecting flights. She said, “I love supporting our local airport. I find it’s so much more convenient to fly out of Champaign and connect in Chicago.”

That convenience will no longer be available for now. Willard Airport director Tim Bannon said, “Airlines are reacting to that travel demand and adjusting their flight schedules.” Right now the only flight out of Willard is to Charlotte, NC. The temporary suspension of flights to Chicago and Dallas airports is temporary, lasting from September 10 – October 7.

Bannon says he doesn’t expect the effects to be detrimental. “While there are impacts to our revenue and rental car operations, we don’t anticipate those being longstanding. We look forward to when they reinstate those schedules. So I don’t think there will be any longterm impacts to the airport.” But the schedule changes are being updated frequently by the airline and could change again at any time.

This is a problem nationwide and has affected other central Illinos airports including in Springfield and in Bloomington. Central Illinois Regional Airport has seen flight reductions since April. Airlines like Delta and American usually have five flights a day out of that airport and now have been reduced to two.

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