New O'Hare Runway Eases Travel Nationwide

Delays at second-busiest airport can hold up flights all over
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 23, 2009 10:55 AM CDT
A United Airlines plane lands on the new runway at O'Hare International airport in Chicago, Nov. 20, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The 8-month-old runway at the nation’s second-busiest airport has helped Chicago’s O’Hare escape its status as the “tar pit” of US air travel, writes Scott McCartney in the Wall Street Journal. With three runways now available, the airport’s on-time arrival rate increased 27% this year over the same period last year—and “any improvement we can get at O’Hare has impact all over the country,” says an Federal Aviation Administration official.

In the first five months of last year, weather delayed 30,000 flights at O’Hare—and when bad weather slows O’Hare, flights all over the US must be held. In the first five months of 2009, however, only 8,800 flights have been delayed due to weather there. Meanwhile, the average delay at O’Hare has fallen from 24 minutes to 16.