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Illinois Aviation System

The State of Illinois plays a critical role in the National Airspace System (NAS). Aviation serves as a global gateway, connecting Illinoisans to the world. The aviation industry is a major contributor to the Illinois economy, and last year alone, over 87.4 million commercial passengers flew to, or through, Illinois airports. Illinois airports saw over 2.5 million operations (takeoff or landing).

There are 77 airports in Illinois that are publicly owned, open to the public and eligible for public funding. All of these airports are owned and operated by local sponsors with the State of Illinois acting as a co-sponsor for funding purposes. These airports are eligible for federal funding and all of them, except Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) Airport and Chicago Midway International (MDW) Airport, are eligible for state airport improvement program funding.

In addition to the publicly owned airports, there are 38 privately owned airports which are open to the public, 548 restricted landing areas which are only open to people approved by the owner and 273 heliports which are used mainly by individuals, hospitals and corporations. None of these privately owned facilities are currently eligible for public funding.

Illinois’ public-use airports generate $95.5 billion dollars in total annual economic activity, resulting in 500,000 jobs that can be traced to the aviation industry. The study also found that aviation accounts for more than 4.2 percent of Illinois’s GDP and nearly 5 percent of the State’s jobs . In addition to these economic benefits, airports in Illinois provide a number of health, welfare, and safety benefits. Services such as medical transport and evacuation, flight training, law enforcement flights, military exercises, and search-and-rescue operations all contribute directly to the quality of life of those who live and work in Illinois. Additionally, visitors who arrive on commercial airlines or on private aircraft also create economic activity through local spending at hotels, restaurants, retail stores and entertainment establishments. All of these actions contribute directly to creating additional jobs and greater local economic benefits.

Primary Airports

Primary Airports are scheduled service airports enplaning at least 10,000 passengers in the previous calendar year as determined by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Bloomington-Normal (Central Illinois Regional) 

Marion (Williamson County Regional)

Belleville (MidAmeria St. Louis/Scott AFB)

Moline (Quad City International)

Champaign (University of Illinois - Willard)

Peoria (Peoria International)

Chicago (O'Hare International)

Quincy ( Quincy Regional Airport)

Chicago (Midway International)

Rockford (Chicago/Rockford International)            
Decatur (Decatur Airport) Springfield (Abraham Lincoln Airport)

Reliever Airports
Reliever Airports have been designated to reduce the general aviation traffic at O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport in Chicago and at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. 

Aurora (Aurora Municipal)    Romeoville (Lewis University)
Alton (St. Louis Regional)    Waukegan (Waukegan Regional)
Cahokia (St. Louis Downtown)    West Chicago (DuPage)
Lake in the Hills (Lake in the Hills)    Wheeling/Prospect Heights (Chicago Executive
Lansing (Lansing Municipal)  

General Aviation Airports
General Aviation Airports are publicly owned/public use airports in Illinois. General aviation aircraft include small jets and single and twin-engine propeller-driven aircraft that are used for business or recreational flying.