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Q: How has the coronavirus crisis affected Willard Airport in Savoy?

A: It’s led to a lot of flight cancellations, Executive Director Tim Bannon said.

“At this point, we have only seen a one flight reduction in frequency to/from (O’Hare) daily on our schedule. While our schedule remains in the majority intact, we are seeing a high volume of cancellation on daily flights,” Bannon said. “American Airlines is likely assessing passenger loads and cancelling flights where they can to avoid flying nearly empty aircraft. COVID-19 and the governor’s stay-at-home order are significantly impacting the daily demand for air travel.”

He expects the cancellations to continue, and for the flights that remain, not many people have been on them.

“We are generally seeing very low passenger numbers, at least a 90 percent reduction in traffic,” Bannon said. “We are seeing zero to five passengers on average per flight currently.”

Along with that, he said the airport “will see significant reductions in parking revenue and rental car commissions beginning this month and for months to come.”

Some help is on the way from the $2 trillion federal relief package.

Of that, $7.4 billion is reserved for grants for airports.

“Airports across the country will receive money based on their passenger numbers in 2018,” Bannon said. “We are uncertain on when this money will become available and are staying in close contact with the FAA regarding this funding.”

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Ben Zigterman is a reporter covering business at The News-Gazette. His email is bzigterman@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@bzigterman).

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