BLV is often cited as the argument for expanding ORD
, rather than building a third airport
And rightly so. Build new runways at Ohare and they will be used big time. Even existing traffic strains that airport to the breaking point. Build a new airport at Peotone and maybe a few teenagers will break in to drink at the end of the empty runway, if you are lucky. Just as it is said that a bank will only loan money to you if you don't need it, the only place and airport or runway can be built is at a place where it is not needed.
What we end up with is huge facilities being built in the middle of nowhere in a vane effort to fight economic realities, while needed runways go unbuilt because there are too many NIMBY's nearby.
With MidAmerica, I have a vague memory that they were hoping a link to the light rail and freeway system, along with lower costs and less congestion, could entice Southwest to move out there. At the time, Southwest's gates in the East terminal were not very good, and there was a lot of congestion from TWA. After the construction of the East terminal, and American's drawdown of the ex-TWA hub, there was no longer any reason for Southwest to move. MidAmerica's proponents were also forgetting that the secondary airports WN
serves tend to be CLOSER or at least the same distance from the cities they serve than the main airports, and Mid America is definitely farther away for the vast majority of the Metro area. Where this is not the case (as with Islip), it is in suburban areas that are FAR
richer, more populous, and faster growing than Southern Illinois. Perhaps someone else could fill us in on more of the specifics.....
But all in all, the people who pushed for MidAmerica simply did not consider how secondary airports succeed and fail in the real world. They had a Field of Dreams like "If you build it, they will come" attitude. In order to create markets in that way, you have to give people a real reason to come. Just building is not enough. The only reasons they could come up with are reasons that mattered to them(airport costs, congestion, development of depressed regions, noise, etc) but didn't matter to most travelers.
Most of the time, air traffic does not create economic development. Air traffic generally FOLLOWS economic development. In the rare instances where air traffic does create economic development (South Padre, for example) I can't think of a single case in recent memory where the cause was a new airport or runway. Perhaps there are a few, but I cannot think of any. Most of the time, the cause is a low-cost carrier entering a region. Even then, there needs to be enough development in the area close to the airport to attract the LCC in the first place.
SHORT......New runways will certainly not attract more air traffic unless existing traffic to the region NEAR THE AIRPORT has pretty much maxed out the available capacity. Even then sometimes it does not work, just look at DEN
. There are places we desperately need new runways, but those are the very places that have the most NIMBY's who won't let anyone build anything.