SAVOY, Ill., (WCIA) — Crystal Vallery and her mom flew into Willard Airport a few days ago to spend time with family in Tuscola. They have flown in and out of Willard many times, and on this trip, they have not had any delays or cancellations.
John MacLean recently flew to Central Illinois to visit family as well. Although he has lots of travel experience, he was worried about flying on Monday after hearing about nationwide cancellations.
MacLean was flying to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which had 270 delayed flights and 21 canceled flights on Monday according to Flight Aware.
The situation has not been much better in other nearby airports. On Monday, Flight Aware also reported Chicago O’Hare had 257 delays, Indianapolis International 22 delays and St. Louis Lambert International 68.
Vallery said that while she was catching one of her flights in San Antonio, she heard big roars when an employee made a flight announcement at the gate next to her.
“A lady went by to throw away trash and she goes ‘I’m so sorry, we’ve been here for over a day,” Vallery said.
Tim Bannon, Willard Airport executive director, said delays are typically caused by staff related reasons, including a pilot shortage.
He works closely with the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College and hopes more people take advantage of this pilot training program so the shortage ends sooner.
When there is a cancellation or delay at a smaller sized airport like Willard, it can oftentimes snowball into something larger. When there is a delay or cancellation at Willard, people may have to wait hours for another plane since they only have four flights a day.
“The first flight gets canceled, if you miss that first flight, you may have to wait seven, eight, nine, 10 hours to get that next flight. That’s normal at an airport our size. Some of the bigger airports, there are flights every hour, so if you miss one, another one’s coming.”