The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO) is a nonhub, commercial service airport offering daily non-stop and one-stop international and domestic destinations. In service since 1955, the facility has grown to include a 60,000 square foot terminal with modern customer amenities offering on-site rental cars, ground transportation and food service. General aviation includes an executive terminal supplying a full-service fixed base operation, flight school, and aircraft charters. The big question was: why would anyone want to go to this local airport’s website?

There are significant resources online for the major services an airport’s website would provide – booking flights, checking flight status, checking local weather and finding local attractions. Many other sites come to mind before one thinks of the local airport’s site. CHO staff also needed to facilitate easy communication with each other and with the public for daily business as well as emergencies.

In our Interview and Concepting phases, we determined there was value in providing a snapshot of localized resources that would give users a single source for information specific to the Charlottesville airport and surrounding region. We created a Traveler’s Flight Center that allows users to immediately get pre-filtered information with a single click. Key features are an interactive map which shows destinations that travelers can reach on direct and one-stop flights from CHO, including domestic and international flights; a flight status panel that pulls in only flights coming to and leaving from CHO; a listing of ticket prices that offer the best deals for flights from Charlottesville; and a full-featured booking tool that automatically pulls in CHO as the departing airport. From drawings provided by the client, we created animated maps that make the areas and services of the airport clear to visitors. We included FAQs and an easy to update News section for travelers as well.

For the airport administrators, we created several unique components: a content management system (CMS) that allows administrators to post news to any section of the site through a simple, web-based interface, including hot alerts for travelers visiting the home page; a flight data tracking tool that pulls in information from multiple sources and provides the opportunity for revenue sharing; a tool for integrated site traffic statistics and click-throughs that allows the site to generate ad-based revenue; the JetBlast Blog that allows subscribers to get RSS feeds for general airport news or the behind the scenes at the airport; and a booking tool that generates revenue for the airport when users book a flight. Other additions include a administrator-only bulletin board which can be used by CHO to post important information for their employees, and a location map that allows visitors to chart driving directions from the airport to other destinations.

The re-imagining of the CHO website was an exercise in creativity to make it useful to the public: the local news stations now use it for checking weather-related delays. We integrated technology where data was pulled from several sources then manipulated and displayed it on a localized platform. With options for revenue generated by affiliate links and ad placement, the project is on the way to paying for itself. View site.