Told ya so: New O'Hare Airport runway expansion fails to reduce delays

Opponents of ex-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s O’Hare Airport expansion boondoggle had been saying it for years: The costly expansion won’t do much to reduce delays, one of the major reasons justifying the billions spent and the homes and businesses destroyed.

Now comes a Chicago Tribune article reporting an AP analysis of airport delays, “New runway at O’Hare fails to live up to promise so far.” It found that the addition of a runway not only didn’t reduce delays, but also increased them–for both arriving and departing flights.

Despite the delays, airline passengers and taxpayers who have paid for the expansion, have been taken for a wild ride.

As the story reported:

From the runway’s opening in October 2013 through this past March, nearly 28 percent of departures have been delayed, compared with 22 percent over the five previous years, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Arrival delays tracked a similar 6 percentage point increase, hitting 26 percent. The jump was double the national increase.

The poor results raise the prospect that the complexity and enormity of O’Hare, combined with its vulnerability to problems originating elsewhere in the nation’s air system, will sometimes swamp whatever performance gains come from the more efficient design that planners are etching into the 72-year-old airfield.

Oh well, the city will of course blame the winter weather and the construction underway at the airport for the delays. But the AP reported:

 AP’s review found delay figures were still worse even when excluding the worst weather month and the three months affected by those air traffic stoppages.

The story doesn’t go into one of the loudest beefs about the new runway alignment: The additional, penetrating noise brought to Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs.

Follow the links for my earlier related stories on the O’Hare Airport mess:


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