It ranks as one of the most popular and best attended events in Rockford, but the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) has announced that it is “suspending the airshow in future years due to recent expansions taking place at the airport.”
“Rockford AirFest has been a part of this community for a decade and we are sad to see it suspended. We are very excited about recent construction projects at RFD and the successful recruitment of new business operations to the airport,” said Mike Dunn, Executive Director of RFD in a news release. “Several of the new businesses we have recruited have nearly non-stop operations that make it very challenging to close the airport for four days. The traffic congestion incurred by AirFest would put a heavy burden on the operations of new businesses on the airport. Our priority is to our customers and tenants that use RFD.”
AirFest was canceled this past year due to scheduling conflicts with the U.S. Department of Defense for military aircraft exhibitions including the Navy’s ‘Blue Angels’ and Air Force’s ‘Thunderbirds’. In 2015, the event set attendance records with more than 140,000 people attending from all across the region.
The 2017 AirFest had already been scheduled for June 3rd and 4th. However, airport officials say the completion of the new AAR facility and the ABX Air cargo expansion this past year have made closing down the airport to host AirFest impractical.
“We want to thank all our sponsors, volunteers, vendors, performers, media, security, Airsho, Inc., and others who made AirFest possible,” said Dunn. “We also want to thank the attendees who came out year after year to support the event. RFD will continue to identify new opportunities for entertainment that work within the parameters of our partnerships for this region.”