5 Benefits of Regional Airports

September 16, 2019

The network of airports that connect cities, both large and small, were originally envisioned as transportation hubs. While there is no strict definition of a regional airport, they are usually distinguished from international airports since most have no customs or immigration facility for foreign travelers. However, regional airports, like Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield IL, have become much more than mere transportation hubs. Here are five benefits of regional airports:

1. Regional Airports are Economic Generators

Regional airports have many economic benefits:

  • – Regional airports provide jobs. Thousands of people are employed at regional airports around the United States, with an average regional airport providing up to 200 jobs for airline employees, security personnel, and passenger services employees.
  • – Regional airports provide freight transportation to markets throughout the U.S. and around the world for locally produced goods.
  • – Regional airports provide access to the local market for goods imported from around the country and around the world.
  • – Regional airports enable local small business owners, contractors, and consultants to travel into and out of the local community for work, and saving valuable time that in turn can be used to conduct business.
  • – Regional airports can attract large business and major corporations to build local offices, factories, and distribution centers because of the readily accessible to air transportation.


2. Regional Airports Improve Tourism

Tourists, by and large, have a limited time to spend on vacation. The time spent traveling to and from a destination is often a factor in deciding where to vacation. The choice to vacation in Central Illinois and its many attractions, for example, is facilitated by an airport in Central Illinois such as the Abraham Lincoln Capital in Springfield. Our regional airport reduces travel time and makes the most of vacation time.

3. General Aviation

Regional airports, like the airport in Springfield IL, facilitate the daily operations of general aviation. General aviation includes all aviation other than commercial and military flights. For example, training flights, law enforcement flights, medical flights, private business flights, and recreational flights all fall under the category of general aviation.

The benefits of general aviation cannot be overstated. Regional airports like SPI located in Central Illinois facilitates air ambulance flights and medical evacuation flights for local patients and hospitals. Moreover, organs for local organ transplant candidates can be flown into a regional airport close to home at an airport in Central Illinois.

Springfield’s airport in Central Illinois supports all of these types general activities including services to support them such as refueling and maintenance at facilities like Stellar Aviation or StandardAero located at SPI.

A regional airport can provide a base of operations for law enforcement search and rescue operations, just as the Illinois State Police calls Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport home.

4. Convenience

One of the greatest benefits to regional airports is the convenience to local travelers. Rather than driving or taking a train to a major city like St. Louis or Chicago to catch a flight, travelers can fly directly from Springfield.

Moreover, flying from a regional airport saves fuel since a round trip drive to a larger airport like the one in St. Louis would consume about half a tank of gasoline and a round trip drive to Chicago would consume nearly a full tank of gasoline. In this respect, regional airports can be viewed as environmentally friendly since they eliminate many travelers’ drives to a major airport. Plus parking is free at Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.

5. Crowd Level

Crowds at regional airports are generally much less than those at major airports. Jets that service regional airports usually carry between 50 and 90 passengers. Even on a day with a full flight schedule and sold out airplanes, it would be unusual to encounter more than a few hundred passengers moving through a regional airport. For comparison, a single Boeing 747 carries between 400 and 500 passengers, depending on the configuration.

This reduced level of crowding and congestion in the airport translates in many ways to an improved passenger experience:

  • – Lines to check baggage are shorter.
  • – Security lines move faster. While TSA has uniform security standards, wait times are always shorter at the less crowded regional airports.
  • – Shorter waits for passenger services.
  • – Less crowded parking.


TSA often recommends arriving two hours before your departure time at the major airports. However, as a result of the lower crowds and shorter lines, there is less of a need to arrive excessively early at less crowded regional airports – rule of thumb is to arrive between 90 and 60 minutes prior to your boarding time.

In summary, regional airports like Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport provide substantial benefits to travelers, local businesses, the environment, and the economy. Moreover, general aviation, such as medical flights, law enforcement flights, business and recreational flights, are facilitated by regional airports. When you’re ready to experience the benefits of your local central Illinois airport, remember to check out the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport!