O'Hare Airport: Increasingly unsafe?

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O'Hare expansion. Notice the increased number of runway and taxiway intersections

One of the warnings issued by opponents of O'Hare Expansion was that building new runways, terminals and other facilities at the 1950s-sized airport would be difficult, if not unsafe, while the airport tries to continue operating at full capacity.

That warning came to mind after reading the Tribune's John Hilkevitch's report, "Number of O'Hare go arounds going up. Runway expansion project creates more missed approaches." Wrote Hilkevitch:
The halfway-completed realignment of runways is resulting in increased use of the same runways for takeoffs and landings; the need to launch more planes quickly between the gaps of arriving plans; and a small increase in missed approaches, or "go-arounds," controllers ay. A go-around is an aborted landing of an aircraft on final approach.
We do everything we can to avoid go-arounds,but it's a situation that has presented itself more and more often because of O'Hare expansion," said Craig Burzych, an O'Hare controller and runway-safety representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which is the controllers union.

Mayor Richard M. Daley and his aviation minions might argue that this dangerous is one more reason that expansion opponents (if any are left) need to get out of the way so that the expansion can be finished quicker. The problem with the argument is that the expansion (above), when completed will increase the number of runway/taxiway intersection. This is important because the greatest aviation danger presents itself on the ground, in the form of airplane collisions.


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