A Publication of WTVP

On the heels of what seems to be the most challenging time in the airline industry since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria (MAAP) has made significant progress towards the redevelopment of its infrastructure at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport (PIA) and Mt. Hawley Airport (3MY).

One of the most significant changes to the Airport Authority took place on January 1, 2008. Through legislation, the Greater Peoria Airport Authority was dissolved and reformed as the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria (MAAP). The new Airport Authority is made up of a nine-member board of commissioners (Lee Graves, Dean Heinzmann, Rick Hinck, Michael Landwirth, Steve Larson, Steve Roehm, Gary Stella, Larry Stranz and our newest member, Rita Kress).

A new partnership has been formed with Peoria County with the reintroduction of county law enforcement services provided by Sheriff McCoy and his professional staff. Additionally, the Air National Guard is now responsible for providing 24-hour fire services. Together with the Sheriff’s department, Air National Guard and the Airport Operations Division, MAAP’s mission is to provide the highest level of public safety services possible to serve and protect our passengers and tenants.

Many more changes are on the way at both of our airports. Together, both Mt. Hawley and Peoria Regional make up the second largest airport system in the State of Illinois (second to the City of Chicago). Mt. Hawley Airport is in the initial phase of redevelopment. Together with the Airport Authority and the State of Illinois, Mt. Hawley will be expanded to allow for future growth and continued safe operations. We are working with professional services to formulate plans to expand and widen the runway, build a new parallel taxiway on the west side of the runway, build new general aviation facilities, upgrade the approaches and clear obstructions. The redevelopment of this airport will allow for growth for many years to come.

The Greater Peoria Regional Airport continues to grow its passenger base each month. Year-to-date, we are 16 percent over last year, and getting close to setting an all-time annual passenger record. The current record of 550,000 passengers was set in 1978. Moving forward with continued success in developing our passenger service, the Airport Authority will begin construction of the new terminal early this fall. To get a closer look at what we are going to build, go to our website, The estimated cost of this new facility is $65 million.

While we prepare for the construction of the new termin al, we have begun the construction of our new commercial rental car service facility. This $4.1 million facility, which is currently located on the site of what will be the new terminal, will soon be located on Maxwell Road. At the end of the project, Maxwell Road will be reconnected to the airport to allow easy access for rental car transfers. This new facility is for servicing only. Customers will continue to pick up and drop off cars at the terminal building. This project is scheduled to be completed in late August.

While many positive things are happening in Peoria, as mentioned earlier, the airline industry is facing the most challenging time since September 11, 2001. The industry as we know it today is not designed to be profitable with oil prices in excess of $100/barrel, let alone $123 (price at time of writing). Fundamentally, things need to change, and airlines and airports must reinvent themselves to stay profitable.

Many airports rely on revenues generated from the service airlines provide. Airline service equals passengers using your airport. Passengers using your airport equals revenue earned though the services and goods purchased by the passengers. As you can see, it is a full-circle dependency on airline service. That needs to change, and many airports are focusing on alternative revenue sources that are not dependent on airline service.

PIA offers plenty of opportunities for “non-aeronautical” businesses. We own a significant amount of property that can be developed and used for retail/commercial and private business. Many airports around the country are beginning to shift their revenue dependency onto non-aviation related businesses. Focusing on these, airports can essentially incubate themselves during lulls in the industry by having a balanced portfolio of revenue-generating businesses.

The Greater Peoria Regional Airport is a business, just like any other business in town. You must use it in order for it to be successful. If the service is not used, we will lose it, and in this economically turbulent time, it will be harder than ever to get it back. Every time you fly or ship cargo, try PIA first. Tell your friends and family that it is more important now than ever before to support PIA. Our future depends on you and your patronage. Support your local economy and support the Greater Peoria Regional Airport. IBI