The conventional wisdom has always been that big airports could make flight operations run more efficiently and on-time by adding a runway. But the Associated Press studied flight statistics for Chicago O’Hare, which opened a new runway in fall of 2013, and found that the opposite was true.
The new AP analysis found that from the time the airport’s newest runway opened in October 2013 through March 2015, departure delays at ORD totaled 28 percent of all flights, up from 22 percent over the previous five years; and arrivals delays rose from 20 percent to 26 percent.
Before O’Hare’s eighth runway (10C/28C) opened, planners had promised that it would reduce delays, benefiting travelers nationwide since O’Hare is a bottleneck for a large part of the aviation system.
“The poor results raise the prospect that the complexity and enormity of O’Hare, combined with its vulnerability to problems originating elsewhere in the nation’s air system, will sometimes swamp whatever performance gains come from the more efficient design,” AP said.
The increase in flight delays happened even though the number of takeoffs and landings at O’Hare have decreased by 110,000 from 2004 to 2014, the article noted.
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