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"Deputy director out at Illinois airport"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Deputy director out at airport
By Thomas V. Bona
The Rockford (IL) Register Star

ROCKFORD - The man who helped recruit airlines and cargo carriers to the
Chicago/Rockford International Airport the last four years stopped working
there Tuesday.

Derek Martin is out as deputy director for air service business development,
according to Executive Director Bob O'Brien. O'Brien wouldn't say why,
though, and declined to comment because it's a personnel matter. Martin also
declined to comment.

Martin was hired to the then-new position in July 2002, four months after
O'Brien took over. O'Brien was hired to attract passenger airlines; he said
in 2002 it was important to have a full-time recruiter to complement his
By the time Martin started, Rockford had been without passenger service for
a year. Their first success was getting TransMeridian Airlines to start
flying to Sanford, Fla., and Las Vegas in 2003.

TransMeridian left Rockford when it filed bankruptcy in October 2005, and
Hooters Air and Northwest Airlines both came and went in less than a year.

But Allegiant Air started service a year ago and now has 13 flights in each
direction each week, split between Las Vegas, Sanford and St.
Petersburg/Clearwater, Fla. The airport then nabbed United Airlines, which
has 13 inbound and 14 outbound flights a week on its Denver route.

The airport is having its best year of passenger service this decade. More
than 150,000 people have flown through it, including 16,000 in November.

The amount of cargo freight that passes through the airport annually has
remained about the same over that time. In 2001, 1.35 billion pounds of
cargo went through. That number rose to 1.39 billion last year, but cargo
shipments are down 3.7 percent this year.

Martin was sales manager for Northwest before taking the Rockford job.

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