Ethan Simmons is a reporter at The News-Gazette covering the University of Illinois. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@ethancsimmons).


The entry at Willard Airport in Savoy on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

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Has Willard Airport experienced much of this season’s weather- or COVID-19-related flight cancellations or delays?

According to Executive Director Tim Bannon, not really.

Knock on wood.

Said Bannon: This holiday season, just two flights were canceled at Willard airport, and they were connected.

On Jan. 1, a flight inbound from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport was canceled due to crew availability, Bannon was told.

The flight scheduled to head out the next morning with the same crew was subsequently canceled, bringing the total to two.

“We don’t get info about what’s wrong with the crew, could’ve been anything from a pilot who broke their ankle skiing to a pilot having COVID-19,” Bannon said.

More than 25,000 flights within, to or from the United States have been canceled since Christmas Eve, the most since the pandemic began in the states, according to flight tracker FlightAware.

One crew-related cancellation can scale up easily, Bannon said.

“Since these crews travel all over the country, a crew issue in the morning may impact four, five or six legs down the road, just domino effect down the line,” Bannon said.

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