March 30, 2008: Five years after the destruction of Meigs Field
Driving Away Business--Five Years Later
Since first closing Meigs Field 1996, Chicago has lost over half its market share in general and corporate aviation.
Meigs opponents have long claimed that the closure of Chicago's downtown airport will have no adverse affects; that the traffic will merely be redirected to the area's suburban airports.
FAA statistics highlight how wrong this prediction has been. Since 1996--the year Chicago Mayor Richard Daley first tried to close Meigs Field--Chicago has lost over half of its "market share" of general and corporate aviation, as compared to the U.S. as a whole.
The number of general operations at the City's three airports (Meigs, Midway and O'Hare) has fallen precipitously during the period, and the City's market share has fallen from 0.45% of U.S. operations to only 0.20% of operations.
Moreover, the traffic has not gone to suburban airports as hoped by the City. Similar statistics show that--when the region's 5 outlying airports with control towers (Gary, Aurora, DuPage, Palwaukee/Chicago Executive & Waukegan) are included, there is an even greater decline, from 2.27% in 1996 to only 1.29% today.
The graph below tells the story. Click to enlarge.
Data source: FAA Air Traffic Activity Data System (ATADS)
Copyright © 1995-current year