Chicago’s O’Hare airport has seven active runways. Hey, London Heathrow, are you jealous?
Don’t be. Chicago might have lots of runways, but its airline market is barely growing. In fact, during 2019, while Heathrow managed a modest 1% y/y increase in passenger volumes, the Chicago market as a whole — O’Hare and Midway airports combined — likely contracted. Figures for the final month of 2019 aren’t yet in, but through November, O’Hare traffic was up just 1% y/y and Midway’s was down 6%.
To be fair, Chicago’s current traffic stall has much to do with the B737 MAX crisis. The city’s three busiest airlines — United, American, and Southwest — happen to be the three U.S. airlines with grounded MAXs. Southwest’s many missing MAXs in particular, are almost wholly responsible for the current contraction at Midway.
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