Bye-bye, 'Fly CMI'

Bye-bye, 'Fly CMI'

Former Champaign city manager Steve Carter talks Willard today at 4:20 on WDWS.


The University of Illinois Airport Advisory Board, a group of 20 local leaders, will gather at 3 p.m. today to unveil a new branding campaign intended to better connect Willard Airport to the broader community. The latest:


It's out with "Fly CMI" and in with "Fly Champaign-Urbana," based on the thinking that the general public, both here and elsewhere, is going to be a lot more familiar with the names of two cities than the airport identifier CMI, according to Steve Carter, chairman of the advisory board.

Look for the new airport branding, complete with new logo, to be promoted at local events, including the UI football opener and the upcoming Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, he said.


A committee is pushing ahead to get a new executive on the job by the end of the year, if not sooner, Carter said.

Applications will continue to be accepted through Aug. 24, followed by a look at the candidates and interviews. The UI is looking for someone to take on the visionary issues of the airport, such as expanding air service, marketing and economic development potential.

One major investment waiting on the new executive director and now being studied is making a significant investment in a new parking system at Willard, Carter said.


Flights are fuller these days than in years past. For 2014, 80 percent of Willard flights were filled, compared to 75 percent the previous year and a decade of below 70 percent prior to 2011, according to Jack Penning, executive director for Sixel Consulting Group and the lead consultant for the airport.

"On peak days (Thursday and Sunday) we run out of seats," he said.

That was partly due to American Eagle's reduced service to Chicago to five flights a day, he said. As of this month, that service is back up to six flights a day.

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 19, 2015 at 7:08 am
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Title is misleading, somewhat alarming.

catsrule wrote on August 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

Agree with Rob,  title of the article is misleading.  I use CMI  when fares are reasonably close to those at ORD, MDW or IND, taking into consideration convenience. CMI will greatly benefit if it can obtain a second airline,  but most airlines are  reducing, not expanding capacity at this time. 

mrseeu2 wrote on August 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

Rob is absolutely right.  Change the title of this article.  I use CMI exclusively for all of my flights and to see a headline like this one was disturbing.  I'm glad to see that the title was misleading.  I look forward to a bigger and better airport, with more flights and direct destinations.  I think consideration should be given to a retail, restaurant commercial development connected to the airport.  Bring more people to that area, so that the airport  doesn't depend solely on fares for revenue.  Make this area a thriving, bustling destination.

Mike Howie wrote on August 19, 2015 at 10:08 am
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Thanks for your comments. I've changed the headline. Hope it's clearer now.

Mike Howie

online editor

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on August 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Cmi to San Diego.....1000.00.      Mdw to San Diego?   350.  Rt.   Direct flights.   Need one say more?

chief21 wrote on August 20, 2015 at 7:08 am

How about Bye Bye CMI...hello Bloomington? 

CMI to Miami.....$515

BMI to Miami.....$396

IND to Miami.....$313