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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

While O'Hare declines, Milwaukee's airport rises

While O'Hare and Midway airports are losing business, Milwaukee's Mitchell Airport is enjoying new growth. You can thank Mayor Richard M. Daley for that.

Milwaukee's Mitchell Airport posted record increases in 2008 compared with 2007, for the 17th straight months of record growth. The reason? O'Hare is a mess and for many travelers in northern Illinois, Mitchell has become a viable alternative: lower fares, few of the delays that choke O'Hare.

Daley's obsession with expanding O'Hare with an unworkable plan has led to this bad news for Chicago. Instead of a more reasonable plan, and a state-of-the-art south suburban airport to relieve O'Hare, Daley has pursued an expansion plan whose main objective is not a better, more efficient airport, but more jobs and contracts for loyalists.

Milwaukee should send a big "thank you" to Daley for the business.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, when I look at the data, Milwaukee Mitchell Airport traffic has declined every year since 2005.

2005 219,000 operations
2006 203,000 operations
2007 200,000 operations
2008 183,000 operations

prowe said...

The number of passengers has grown each year:

2005 7,268,000 passengers
2006 7,299,294 passengers
2007 7,713,144 passengers
2008 7,956,968 passengers

The term "operations" refers to takeoffs and landings and includes both general aviation (private planes) and military flights, which have declined over the years.

ckfred said...

Still, one can fly to many more places, non-stop, from O'Hare than Milwaukee. Other than Canada and Mexico, the number of international destinations served from Milwaukee is 0.

Finally, there is the issue of the new runway, which opened in November. It has reduced delays, because O'Hare can now land 3 airplanes simultaneously in bad weather. Before, landing on 3 runways meant using 1 set of intersecting runways. Bad weather meant closing 1 of the intersecting runways and reducing the arrival rate by more than one-third.