Commercial Photography Policy

Still & Video (Updated 7-5-2018)

Download copy of permission application


To define terms and conditions under that provide the film industry with centralized and efficient procedures for obtaining Chicago Executive Airport approval for on-airport filming.


This policy applies to all commercial filming and photography at Chicago Executive Airport (CEA) except for occasional short-term filming by news media.


The airport’s primary responsibility and highest priority is safe, secure and orderly airport operations. This policy strives to provide access to property and facilities operated by Chicago Executive Airport for the purpose of on-location filming and photography without causing disruption or inconvenience to airport Fixed Based Operators (“FBOs”) and other tenants. CEA hangars are private buildings and should be considered non-public for purposes of access and free speech activities.

Chicago Executive Airport reserves the right to deny or suspend filming requests for safety, security or operational reasons. Suspension and or prohibition will be based on the availability of security resources.

Pursuant to applicable laws and regulations, only persons holding valid ID visitor’s badges, or persons escorted by properly badged personnel, are allowed on airport property. Law enforcement and Chicago Executive Airport personnel have the authority to stop any unapproved filming or photography at any time.

  1. To ensure the production company provides Chicago Executive Airport with appropriate liability insurance coverage.
  1. To prevent any filming-related damage to airport property, while ensuring the production company will be responsible for any required repairs.
  1. To recover direct costs for airport services as a result of on-airport filming.
General personnel requirements when filming in and around the airport:
  • Have official photo identification available at all times.
  • No crews or equipment may block fire escape routes, fire emergency exits, or interfere with FBO or other tenant operations.
Filming Locations:

Airport Traffic Control Tower: The control tower is operated by the FAA and as such, is the only agency allowed to approve filming requests at Chicago Executive airport. The tower phone number is 847-229-6000.

Leased Areas: Private and leased hangars are under the control of those parties. Filming requests on those ramps or inside those hangars must be coordinated with the lessee.

Request for Filming/Photography Procedures:
  1. Applications

The airport can provide a tour of the field and some facilities in advance of a written request for permission. All inquiries and requests for filming at Chicago Executive Airport should be made in writing to:

Chicago Executive Airport
ATTN: Director of Airport Communications
1020 South Plant Road
Wheeling, IL 60090

Phone 847-537-2580, X 117 or via e-mail at

  1. Letter of Intent

A written request for permission should be submitted a minimum of two (2) weeks in advance of filming depending upon the complexity of the shoot. That letter should contain:

  • Type of filming involved, e.g., feature films, commercials, documentaries, etc.
  • Production dates (specify prep, strike and filming)
  • List of scene locations to be filmed on the airport.
  • Number of cast and crew/personnel
  • Alteration requests, e.g., sign removal, sound system, etc.
  • Arrival and departure hours
  • Number and type of production vehicles
  • Lighting requests
  • Identification and use of props, e.g., picture vehicles, etc.
  • Items of equipment to be used, e.g., cranes, lifts, etc.
  • Special effects requests
  • Identification and use of animals
  • Stunt requests

All filming requests will be reviewed by airport management, as well as tenants and other vendors and the Village of Wheeling and Prospect Heights, before approval will be granted.

  1. Insurance

Film production and still photographers are require to show proof of insurance before any filming may begin. Required insurance coverage and minimum limits are: Commercial

General Liability – bodily injury/property damage (airport premises) – $2,000,000. Higher limits may apply for certain filming locations, e.g., the airfield, and automotive insurance may be required if any vehicles are used. Completed policies should be faxed to Chicago Executive Airport at 847-537-8183 or e-mailed to The applicant’s liability insurance must name Chicago Executive airport as an additional insured.

  1. Fees

Filming at the Airport beyond the security checkpoints will require security escorts at a rate to be approved by the airport. Additionally, a permit fee is required. For still photography, the fee is $100 per day. For film shoots, the fee is $1,000 per day. Special rates for students are available. All other transportation or setup costs required for the shoot would be the responsibility of the applicant.

  1. Samples

All film and still photographers will be expected to share representative samples of their finished projects to be used in potential airport advertising for additional filming projects. These samples may be delivered via e-mail or flash drive. The airport guarantees such samples will not be used in the public domain without prior permission from the applicant.

  1. Special Effects

Filming of certain types of scenes, including breaches of security, aircraft crashes, use of firearms or replicas of firearms, explosions, smoke machine, car crashes, will only be approved after a story board for such scenes has been submitted and approved by the airport.

  1. Smoking Restrictions

Smoking is not permitted inside the airport or within 15 feet of public entrances.

  1. Trash Disposal

The film company or photographer is responsible for any cleanup required from filming activities.

  1. Electrical Power

The airport’s power supply is limited, although the use of wall outlets for low demand lighting may be allowed upon request. Generally, film companies are expected to provide their own power sources.

  1. Traffic Management

To prevent traffic congestion, complete closure of roads at the airport is not permitted.

  1. Animals

No animals are permitted on airport property without prior consent from Chicago Executive airport. If consent is granted, animals must be controlled by qualified personnel. No animals may be harmed during any film activities.

  1. Emergencies

All emergencies must be reported immediately to the airport liaison.

  1. Tenant Arrangements

The film company must list any additional approvals received from airport vendors or tenants prior to the commencement of any filming activities. Activities not specially disclosed in the Letter of Intent will not be allowed without prior consent from Chicago Executive Airport.

  1. Film Location Monitoring

Chicago Executive airport retains the right to halt any activity deemed to adversely impact the airport safety or security.

  1. Prohibition of Filming Trade Marks and Corporate Logos

Prior permission is required in order to film and on-airport company logos, as well as any third-party trade mark, trade brand name, brand name, certification mark, distinguishing guise, trade dress, corporate name, business name or other similar marking.

Download copy of permission application