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From the Director’s Desk

November 19, 2020

Ben Leischner wearing flight headset

Hello, I’m Ben Leischner, executive director at the Quad City International Airport.

When I started my career in this industry many years ago, I never thought we’d find ourselves in the situation we are in now. Fortunately, my diverse background in operations management, and as a commercial pilot, has helped me lead our airport through these challenging times. I’m also lucky to have a team of professional employees who have showed incredible dedication to this community and continue to put the safety of the traveling public first.

Looking to the future

As we look ahead to 2021, as uncertain as it seems, I wanted to fill you in on what’s been happening here at MLI while many of you have been staying home or taking a break from travel.

The front half of our terminal hasn’t been updated since 1985. For more than 70 years, we’ve welcomed the newest technology in commercial and military aircraft, presidents and dignitaries, and yes, even the occasional celebrity. It’s time to give Quad Citizens the airport they deserve. A lot of the work will improve logistics but while we’re doing that, we’re going to make sure our airport is a reflection of our region. We not only want our airport to make you feel like you’re home, we want it to be a show-stopping introduction to the Quad Cities for our out-of-town visitors. We can’t wait to show you where we’re headed.

While planning the terminal updates, we researched airports similar to ours to see what types of amenities they offer that might be a good fit for our passengers. Based on that, we introduced plans to add valet parking and coat check in February 2020. We all know what happened shortly thereafter, so this is something we’ve pressed pause on until more passengers are comfortable with travel outside of our region.

The other addition we’re working on is covered parking – with a bonus. We are part of a public-private partnership that will provide solar energy to the airport terminal buildings. The solar panels will double as covered parking our short-term lot, providing a higher level of service and comfort when you are coming and going from the airport. Altogether, this project will provide more than 50% of the airport’s current energy demand. Construction has been pushed back but the plan is still in motion.

We’ll update you along the way as these projects continue moving forward.

Thank you to my team

I want to close by recognizing our staff of nearly 100 employees. We sent out a survey over the summer and much of the positive feedback we received was because of our employees. I’m so proud to work with a staff that cares so deeply about serving our community. I want to thank them for their dedication throughout this most difficult year and I look forward to brighter days ahead.

Whether you have plans to fly soon, or are waiting until you’re ready, we will be here, ready to welcome you back. Safe travels.

Benjamin Leischner, A.A.E.

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