Air Transport World

An avenue runs through it.(Brief Article)

Chicago's Midway Airport crosses Cicero Avenue to find room for its new terminal

When Midway Airport opens its new terminal in 2001, the southside Chicago field will take land side-airside separation to a new level: A six-lane city street will run between the terminal and the concourses.

One of the last of the square-mile airports, 72-year-old Midway is locked in on three sides by houses and commercial buildings and on its eastern edge by Cicero Avenue. The new terminal and its six-story, 3,000space parking garage are being built on the east side of Cicero, adjacent to the station for the region's rapid transit line.

When the project is completed, the concourses will be on the west side with an elevated bridge with moving walkways connecting airside and landside. Electric tugs will move baggage through tunnels under the avenue. The city added 31 acres to Midway's original 640 acres and moved a 2,300-It. stretch of Cicero eastward to accommodate the development.

Midway's traffic set anew record of 11.4 million passengers last year and is heading for another record this year. Looking at the 24% growth rate experienced in the first half, Em O'Donnell, Chicago's deputy commissioner of aviation in charge of Midway, expects 1999 traffic to total between 12.5 million and 12.8 million passengers. She hopes the growth rate will taper off because even with the new terminal scaled for 17 million passengers a year, "we cannot sustain doubledigit growth year after year."

Operating in a 1947 building designed for 2 million annual passengers, Midway's dozen airlines are desperate for space. Two years ago the city decided it no longer could stretch and patch the terminal and embarked on a $761 million modernization program. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.