News Room

United Airlines To Begin Service At Willard Airport


Gene Cossey, Executive Director
University of Illinois-Willard Airport

United Airlines to Begin Service at Willard Airport

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — United Airlines announced today that it plans to begin service between Champaign-Urbana (CMI) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) starting June 8, 2017.

The new service offers convenient flight times providing 150 additional daily seats for travelers to reach their final destination via Willard Airport.  United will join American Airlines at CMI, both providing air service to and from the greater Champaign-Urbana area and Chicago.

CMI now joins 1,300 airports in the Star Alliance network, the world’s largest airline alliance.  Star Alliance carriers operate 18,450 daily flights to cities in 190 countries on six continents, all of which will be accessible with a single airline ticket to and from CMI. Passengers will now be able to book tickets on all Star Alliance carriers, connecting at Chicago, including United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Air India, ANA, Austrian, Avianca, Copa, EVA, SAS Scandinavian, Swiss, and Turkish Airlines.

Gene Cossey, Executive Director of Willard Airport notes that increased air service is a testament to the community’s support of Willard and the airport’s continued commitment to serve the region. Willard has worked to provide additional options for passenger convenience as United Airlines does not currently serve any other airport in the region.

“We are very excited to be welcoming United Airlines as a part of the Fly Champaign-Urbana family.  The new service will enhance the already convenient travel from Champaign-Urbana, provide easy access to destinations all over the world, and give more opportunities for economic growth in Champaign County.  So many people have worked very hard to help Willard Airport grow and this provides just one more reason to choose your hometown airport first.”

United Airlines is currently the largest airline in the world in terms of cities served, with flights to 360 cities on five continents. United Airlines largest domestic hub, O’Hare provides direct service to 208 destinations, including 153 domestic destinations and 55 international destinations.

“United’s new service between Champaign-Urbana and Chicago O’Hare International Airport offers United customers a much wider array of domestic and international travel options,” said Eric Schmauch, United’s director of Regional Sales. “With hundreds of available connections at our Chicago hub, we are confident that our customers in Champaign will benefit greatly from this flight.”

The United O’Hare hub will provide CMI with service to 27 unique one-stop destinations not currently served including Maui, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and more.  United Airlines will provide a comprehensive international gateway serving Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Currently the number one US carrier to Asia with service to 21 cities in Asia, University of Illinois Associate Chancellor Mike DeLorenzo said the new United Airlines service will be beneficial for the university’s international students.

“A goal of the Airport Task Force has always been air service enhancement for the University and community and we are thrilled United Airlines is adding air service to Willard.  This additional air service will provide our faculty, staff and students increased options for travel nationally and internationally as they continue work in supporting our preeminent University.”

US Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) believes this will have a positive impact on the local and regional community. “This is an exciting announcement that will allow Champaign-Urbana and surrounding areas the ability to grow and succeed,” said Davis. “Air service to our smaller communities is extremely important to connect them globally and support our local economies.”

The new Chicago flight schedule is available now for June ticketing. Tickets can be purchased at

The schedule for the new flights between Champaign-Urbana and Chicago (all times local) is as follows:

CMI to ORD 5:45 (departure) 1:45 (departure) 5:20 (departure)
ORD to CMI 12:15 (arrival) 3:50 (arrival) 8:55 (arrival, RON)

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to 339 airports across five continents. In 2016, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 143 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 737 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express partners operate 483 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.



View photos from the press conference here.

View the video from the press conference here.


United Airlines set to begin service at CMI starting in June, Smile Politely

United adds Willard to O’Hare service, The News-Gazette

United Airlines to Start Champaign-Urbana Service,