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Molly Foley

The Metropolitan Airport Board of Commissioners of Rock Island County on Tuesday recognized outgoing commissioner Molly Foley, left, pictured with Chairman John Malvik, center, and Benjamin Leischner, executive director.

The Quad-City International Airport's first female board member, Molly Foley has stepped down.

Tuesday morning, the Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority Board of Commissioners presented Foley with a certificate recognizing her 13 years of service. Foley first took a seat on the board in 2006, after being appointed by former Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert. 

"This month, we recognize Molly Foley as an outgoing commissioner that not only broke a major barrier of becoming the first female commissioner with the MAA, but also provided valuable strategic leadership," Executive Director Ben Leischner told the board. "Molly leaves some big shoes to fill in representing the citizens of Rock Island on the airport board." 

Foley has served in all of the executive positions on the board, including as chair. She also has served as the vice president for the Illinois Quad-City Chamber of Commerce, and now works as a senior associate for IMEG. 

Richard John Jr. will replace Foley as commissioner. He was appointed by Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms and sworn in last week. 

"Rick has an extensive background in business development and is passionately committed to serving his community in his new role," Leischner said. "I am excited to see Rick's future contributions as part of the board in how we advance our strategic objectives of increasing passenger service levels, air carrier reliability and the development of sustainable business practices."

Passenger numbers up despite the cold

Despite record cold temperatures, passenger numbers were up at the Quad-City International Airport last month. 

The total number of passengers was up 4 percent in January, Leischner told the board Tuesday. The airport reported 28,001 enplanements, a 4 percent increase from the same month last year, where 26,796 people boarded planes.

"Because of the extreme January conditions where the Quad-Cities saw all-time record low temperatures coupled with record snow falls, I had expected a drastic drop in passenger activity," Leischner said. "This wasn't the case. The increased seat capacity for the month still netted an uptick in passenger volume for January, which was above the previous three years' activity levels." 

The month's total passengers, including enplanements and deplanements, rose from 51,862 passengers in January 2018 to 53,863 last month. 

That's the best January since 2015, when the airport served 56,160 total passengers.

Last month, United Express saw the biggest increase in passengers, with 6,819 people boarding flights, a 19 percent jump from last year. For American Eagle, 9 percent fewer passengers boarded flights.

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