A Publication of WTVP

The Greater Peoria Airport Authority (GPAA) is pleased to report air service continues to grow at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport (GPRA) even though the airline industry and the nation’s economy attempt to rebound from recessionary pressures. As of September, total passengers using the GPRA have increased by 18,639 (6.14 percent) passengers compared to 2001. The credit truly goes to you, the travelers of central Illinois.

Should we relax? No.

Notwithstanding the GPRA’s positive numbers, our region must continue to focus on our mission to provide first class air service. By all accounts, the major carriers are proceeding with a reduction in aircraft capacity by 15 to 20 percent by eliminating flights and replacing large jet service with regional jet service throughout their system. Also, the airline industry continues to reduce their labor costs to offset declining revenues and profits, while facing increased costs in fuel and new security mandates. The message from the airline industry to airport authorities is to support the existing service levels for the next six to nine months.

What is GPAA doing?

GPRA presently is maintaining current service levels. GPAA works closely with the airlines to ensure they provide superior service at a competitive cost. Highlights include: an earlier morning flight by Northwest from Peoria to Detroit so our business travelers can effectively use their time by doing their business and getting home all in the same day; seven daily flights from AmericanConnection to St. Louis, where AmericanConnection’s track record demonstrates a 99 percent completion rate with an 89 percent on time record in 2002; eight daily regional jet flights to Chicago with four flights on American and four flights on United; and three daily regional jet services to Atlanta to help you get away from the cold weather.

To work more effectively and efficiently as a team, the Airport Authority instituted monthly meetings with the airline station managers, FAA tower manager, and TSA security director to ensure our operations are meeting your expectations. Also, GPAA is working closer with elected officials, major employers, and civic and governmental organizations to obtain suggestions for improving both air and cargo service.

Some examples of recent work include:

Additionally, the Airport Authority Board of Commissioners and staff thank Congressman Ray LaHood and his staff for monitoring and providing assistance to ensure all Transportation Security Admini-stration security improvements meet both the airlines’ and our passengers’ needs.

GPAA is working diligently for central Illinois travelers to improve customer service. We’re instituting a customer service feedback card, updating our Web site to be more user friendly, and providing holiday music by local high school performers. To enhance our free parking and shuttle service from the parking lot to the terminal building, we’re planning a new user-friendly parking lot, a wireless terminal and concourse network, and improved concessions before and after the security check point.

With the year coming to an end, the Airport Authority would like show its appreciation by inviting you to participate with us, Methodist, the American Red Cross, PARC/Perfect Landing Deli, and IPMR in our Wellness Day at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport December 11 in the lobby of terminal building. This is our way of giving back to you a small gift—the gift of good health—as our appreciation for your patronage of GPRA.

Our continuing goal is to meet and develop relationships with local, county, state, and federal representatives to ensure the entire tri-county region is working together to support your airport.

What can you do to help? Support the economy by flying—and tell us how we are doing. IBI