Few people take advantage of Vision Airlines deal at Willard

Few people take advantage of Vision Airlines deal at Willard

     Friday is the last day that Vision Airlines will offer non-stop, lower fair air service to Florida through Willard Airport.

     And so far,  the number of people who have taken advantage of the deal isn't as high as officials had hoped.

     Airport Manager Steve Wanzek said about 700 people have flown on Vision Airlines since it started flights on Dec. 19.

     That number includes 12 flights, so on a 150-seat plane, that means about 60 seats were filled on average.

     The deal with Vision Airlines had been scheduled to run through March.  But it was cut back to this Friday because Vision said the airplane used for the route will not be available after that date.

    Willard has no plans to try to start a new agreement with Vision Airlines, Wanzek said. Rather, the airport plans to talk to Allegiant Air and Direct Air to try to strike a similar agreement.

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on January 03, 2012 at 3:01 pm
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Too bad that Willard & Vision couldn't have either announced earlier, or held on later. People make plans in advance, especiallyaround the holidays.  


We'd planned to fly to Fort Myers a couple of times this spring. I guess we'll do the Bloomington thing again, as usual.

ClearVision wrote on January 04, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Ditto. Seems like a badly thought out plan.

big10bum wrote on January 03, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Reality check time! U of I needs to either close the airport or have it sold, offer free parking, better destinations & fares, and the cob webs on the ticket counters might go away?

vnp wrote on January 03, 2012 at 5:01 pm


birdfarmer wrote on January 03, 2012 at 4:01 pm

While the UI can't control airfare prices, there is a lot that could be done to improve the leakage rate to other airports if the airport had strong management.  Disembowel  parking from the Parking Pirates, return a nice restaurant like was there several years ago rather than the stale overpriced vending so-called "food" there now (the Greek-run restaurant was a destination unto itself in the day, with free voucher-stamped parking), stop passing institutional ownership within the UI like a hot-career-ruining potato, subsidize taxi rides within the twin cities area, encourage usage by UIUC employees through moral suasion, administrative example or ICR rebates, offer free internet to non-UI visitors, have a place to be able to buy a newpaper and other sundries on-site, improve and promote a timely TSA experience.  In other words, show that the UIUC can not only have a Business School but properly run an actual business.

DenaS wrote on January 03, 2012 at 9:01 pm

One of the points on that wish list has actually been available for several years now.

The UI Public Wireless network lets any area visitors (with or without a UI affiliation) use wireless in selected high-public-traffic locations, including not just Willard but also Krannert, the libraries, the Union, the I-Hotel, Memorial Stadium, and more:


Locations are at:


Small helpful tip from the person who wrote those web pages... :D


serf wrote on January 03, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Those are actually some good ideas.  

I hate to overstate it, but the parking thing is really a killer.  Parking at BMI is free.  From where I'm at, it's frankly not that much farther to drive to BMI (about 1 gallon of gas round trip).  I know parking is only $5 a day at Willard, but the last several trips I've been on have all been about 5 or 6 days long.  That adds up and people do think about things like that when planning.  

DEB wrote on January 03, 2012 at 5:01 pm

UI desperately wants out of the airport business. Especially now that there is no Aviation Department. But who would buy such a thing? Champaign and Urbana residents have no interest in paying taxes to support an airport. Airports receive huge payments from the taxpaying public, and there is no public to pay them except maybe Champaign, Urbana residents. Maybe Savoy, but I bet they would refuse even though it is in their town.

just_wondering wrote on January 05, 2012 at 9:01 am

At an economic development meeting years ago I explained that I flew out of CIRA in Bloomington for several reasons not the least of which was free parking. I was told that UI makes $250,000/yr on parking at Willard and there was no way they were willing to give that up. I still fly out of Bloomington.