Chicago Daily Observer
The upstart and lower-fare Virgin Airlines’ plans to initiate service at O’Hare Airport, and thus bring competition, more jobs and economic development to the Chicago area, appears jeopardized by the sweetheart deal between the Daley administration and the legacy airlines that control the airport.
Which raises the question: When will someone, especially in the business community that is so dependent on air travel, finally get mad on the lunatic ways of O’Hare Airport.
Virgin Airlines, which provides international service from both coasts, has been planning a major expansion into America’s heartland, with O’Hare as its base. But it has been stymied because it has been unable to lease gates at the airport, even though more than enough are sitting idle. Virgin said it will have to decide in a few weeks whether to cancel its O’Hare plans and look for another alternative. Meaning, I assume, another Midwest city in which to locate its hub.The reason Virgin can’t secure one of those empty gates? Because the gates are controlled by United and American airlines, which have a lock on some 80 percent of O’Hare’s business. And how can they get away with a duopoly at O’Hare when the airline industry is supposedly deregulated?
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