May 22, 2019 – Ben Leischner, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island County, provided an overview of the Quad City International Airport. The Authority employs 55 workers, and another 30 are employed with the service arm of the organization for ground services support. The authority’s 8 commissioners oversee $250 million in assets and facilities.
Destinations. The airport offers 11 non-stop destinations including Chicago O’Hare, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Atlanta, St. Pete/Clearwater, Orlando-Sanford, Punta Gorda, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Phoenix-Mesa, and Las Vegas. Air carriers include Allegiant Air, American, Delta, and United Airlines.
Economic Impact. Mr. Leischner spoke on the value the airport brings to the community, including over 500 direct jobs, and a total annual economic impact of over 4,000 jobs. The total annual economic output is nearly $500 million. In the upcoming construction season, there is over $5.1 million in scheduled improvements equivalent to over 100 prevailing wage jobs to contractors and sub-contractors.
Improvements. Planned improvements total $34 million from 2019 to 2024. The airport authority is looking to make terminal façade improvements, updates to the lobby and ticketing area, and signage and wayfinding upgrades in FY2020. This work will help establish a Quad Cities associated identity and increase customer service.
Other objectives to work toward include developing complimentary air service destinations, improved schedules and marketing the airport globally to bring businesses into the region. He concluded by touching on the Fly Local Alliance (Look Before You Book) which encourages travelers to use the True-Cost Trip Calculator on the airport’s website: https://www.qcairport.com/trip