Chicago, airlines desperate to make O'Hare Airport expansion look, well, just okay

Chicago Tribune transportation reporter  has another revealing story today about a predicted (by opponents and aviation experts) failure of O’Hare Airport expansion: The length of time that it’ll take to get the airplanes to and from the gates.

His opening sentence cleverly captures the situation:

Tom Cablk was on one of American Airlines’ new nonstop flights from Philadelphia to Bensenville last week and, jeez, the ride in from the runway took so long he could’ve used a sandwich.

The reference to Bensenville was the use of one of the new runways on what used to be neighboring Bensenville, a runway that the former Mayor Richard M. Daley and the other beneficiaries of the $10 billion-plus expansion boondoggle.

The new runways are too far away from the gates with little convenient ways to get there. Going from taxiway to taxiway, first this way and that, crossing one or more active runways (the most dangerous situation for aviation accidents) can take from 20 minutes or longer.

So, the airlines’ answer: Add those extra minutes to the flight time, so that even after tooling around the airport for some 20 minutes, the plane will arrive at the gate “on time.”

That city’s Aviation Department silently goes along with this charade is a sure sign of how desperate it is to cover up the folly of the “O’Hare Modernization Plan.”

Here is the city of Chicago’s own map of the O’Hare Airport expansion so far. See if you can figure out how to get your plane from the new north or south runways to the gates. And there’s still one more new runway to go.



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