Over the past few years, the Chicago-Rockford International Airport has been gearing up for business, spending millions of federal dollars on additions like a new terminal and cargo apron.
"Operationally, we have the type of equipment they need for the kinds of airplanes coming in," said RFD Executive Director Mike Dunn.
Area officials say those investments paid off this week when UPS announced it would move 13 flights and a sorting operation from Des Moines, Iowa, to Rockford.
"Recent investment in the airport has served as a catalyst for other development that's in the works, that's already happened, and I'm really excited about it," said Winnebago Co. Board Chairman Frank Haney.
UPS says the move is expected to bring more than 200 new jobs to the area. Those jobs will be mostly part-time package handlers in the hub's sorting facility with some full-time positions available.
The company says the starting wage for those part-time jobs is $10.20 an hour and they're permanent positions.
But jobs aren't all that's coming with this announcement.
"It's like adding an additional day, when you're looking at 10 to 15 flights more."
Right now, UPS cargo flights take off here at Chicago-Rockford international airport mostly during the nighttime hours, but with these new additional flights being added, you could start seeing those cargo planes flying overhead during the day, as well.
"When the FAA looks at Rockford and sees what a vibrant airport we are, particularly in the cargo field, they tend to listen very carefully when we are asking for more funds."
Looking ahead to the future, airport executives say this is a sign RFD has arrived.
UPS expects to make the move to Rockford this July.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for UPS says this move will mean over 200 more jobs will be coming to Rockford.
UPS says the jobs will be a mix of full and part-time, though most of the positions will be part-time package handlers.
WREX reporter Taylor Utzig will have more on this developing story tonight on 13 News at 5 and 6.
UPS has announced that it is shifting 13 flights per week and a daytime sorting operation from Des Moines to Rockford.
In a statement released by UPS to our NBC affiliate WHO-TV in Des Moines, the company says the move will happen on July 16.
123 employees will be affected, but the statement says all employees will be offered new positions with the company.
UPS says it's shifting the sorting operation to Chicago Rockford International Airport to improve efficiency, saying the Rockford hub is larger, specifically designed for sorting air packages and is closer to major markets in Illinois and Michigan.
The statement does not address how many jobs could potentially be coming to Rockford with this move. We have reached out to members of the RFD staff and we are still waiting to hear back. We will continue to update this story as we hear more.