Didn't They Used To Have One?
In a statement likely to cause renewed heartburn for those who
fought so valiantly to save Chicago's Meigs Field, Acting FAA
Administrator Robert Sturgell said this week the midwestern city
will probably need a third major airport to handle future growth in
the commercial and private aviation sectors.
The Associated Press reports Sturgell sees the need for as many
as four new major commercial airports over the next 20-30 years.
That compares to only two major commercial airports that have
opened over the past 40 years: Denver International, and
Dallas/Fort Worth International (which amounts to a net gain of
just one additional facility, since DIA replaced the former Denver
Stapleton Airport -- Ed.)
Chicago's geographic location near the population center of the
US means the city is a prime candidate for one of those new
airports... even over objections from local residents,
environmentalists, and the NIMBY crowd. New York and Atlanta are
also likely locations for new facilities.
"It takes a lot of local political will to move new runways and
airports forward," Sturgell admitted.
A $15 billion expansion project now underway at O'Hare will
result in new runways and greater capacity... but Sturgell believes
that's just a stall, against forecasts of some 1 billion air
travelers annually over the next decade. More air traffic means
Now, we realize comparing the former Meigs Field to a major
commercial airport is a bit of a stretch... but it's hard to ignore
the fact that, had Chicago Boss (er, Mayor) Richard Daley opted not
illegally bulldoze the GA airport in 2003...
well, perhaps an entirely new airport would not have been needed,
but perhaps the extension of an existing facility.
In that spirit, might we suggested a chunk of lakefront
property, within minutes of the Chicago Loop, for the new
airport Sturgell says may be needed. Hell, we might even be willing
to call it "Daley International."