A Publication of WTVP

What a year 2005 has been for the Greater Peoria Regional Airport (GPRA), which services a market that attracts passengers within a 60-mile drive of Peoria and a population of approximately 1.3 million.

Since 9/11, the airline industry has seen a major drop in passenger travel. However, Airport Authority statistics show GPRA is on an upward trend, and in 2005, passenger statistics reached an all time high since deregulation in the late 1970s. In 2005, 520,034 total passengers traveled through GPRA, an increase of 15 percent compared to a year ago. According to airport records, this is only the second time in the airport’s history to have reached more than 500,000 passengers.

The airport authority attributes the success to the support provided by central Illinois travelers, low air fares, the addition of Las Vegas service provided by Allegiant Air, Dallas-Fort Worth service provided by American Eagle, and the upgrade of aircraft equipment.

Scheduled passenger service at GPRA consists of United Express, American Eagle, American Connection, Delta Connection, Allegiant Air, and Northwest Airlink, which provides service to Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Minneapolis-St. Paul—plus connection service to every major city in the United States.

With the addition of two new destinations, passengers and visitors experienced a new side to GPRA. In 2005, GPRA was named “Airport of the Year” by the Illinois Department of Transportation—Division of Aeronautics. The airport launched a new flight information display system and a new PA system and put into operation three new passenger boarding bridges. We installed high-tech advertising scrolling displays that feature scenic images of the Illinois River Valley and downtown waterfront. And the addition of 279 parking lot spaces in the main parking lot facility offer a total of 3,216 parking spaces.

So many things have changed at your hometown airport, so when you make your 2006 travel preparations, come experience firsthand a hassle-free vacation or business trip. IBI