A new flight may soon be arriving to and departing from the Quad Cities.
The Quad City International Airport could be adding Washington, D.C. to its list of destinations.
The non-stop service would be open to everyone, but it could be more than just a flight for the local economy and the area’s largest employer.
“The main reason has been the importance of the Rock Island Arsenal,” says Paul Rumler, Chief Economic Development Officer & Executive Vice President for the Quad City Chamber of Commerce. “Having that connection to the Pentagon, to the Nation’s Capitol, is very important to the workforce there because they travel back and forth so often.”
However, Rumler says the flight would do even more for the 7,000 people who work on the Rock Island Arsenal.
“Last year, when we were in Washington, D.C., we were talking at the Pentagon with our officials and they were talking about BRAC, or Base Realignment And Closure,” explains Rumler. “Every decade or so, the Department of Defense does this process and they noticed that the D.C. flight was a missing element in the Quad Cities area.”
“It was something that other bases had so as we’re preparing for that next evaluation, we want to make sure we’re checking off as many boxes as possible that put us in a positive position.”
The flight also puts others in a position to grow. Rumler says the service would help defense contractors and future businesses who may want to work with, in, or for the Quad Cities.
“As the world economy grows and our connection to the world needs to grow with it, having this international connection to the Quad Cities will help us attract more companies and retain them here in the Quad City Area.”
The Chamber’s project proposal includes daily flights to and from Washington, D.C. The service would be paid for with $1.5 million from Illinois and $400,000 from locally-raised funds. Rumler says the Chamber is already raising money from private, philanthropic, and public sources.
Because the project would use state money, it needs to be approved by Governor Pat Quinn. The legislation is part of the budget, which he has yet to sign. However, Rumler says the Chamber is anticipating a signature in the next couple weeks.