Airports Jammed, Getting Worse

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FAA Study Says More Capacity Needed...

An FAA study has confirmed what most of us had likely already guessed. We're running out of room for airplanes and we need to build new airports as well as expand existing ones. But the FAA admits there are some areas of the country that simply won't be able to build new capacity fast enough. "Unfortunately, we have metropolitan areas on both coasts where demand will outstrip capacity without adequate solutions in sight," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said in a news conference last Thursday. It will come as no surprise at all that Chicago is in the worst pickle. Although there's a major ($20 billion, six runways, new terminals) expansion planned for O'Hare, it hasn't come off the drawing board yet and construction will take years. Midway can't expand significantly, according to the report, and will reach ultimate capacity in 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile, the FAA has tried limiting flights into O'Hare to reduce congestion and improve the on-time record. Newark Liberty, Hartsfield-Jackson, Philadelphia and La Guardia Airports also need immediate expansion and by 2013, 15 of the country's 35 top airports are expected to be overloaded.