West Chicago — After a lengthy five year process to obtain FAA approvals, DuPage Airport has begun construction to extend its second longest runway. The project is expected to take four months and will strengthen the capabilities of a leading general aviation facility that serves corporate flight departments and national security operations.
“The Airport currently has the second longest runway in Chicagoland after O’Hare, and the lengthened secondary runway will give us further operational flexibility and added safety,” says Executive Airport Director David Bird.
The runway will be extended 1343 feet and will span 6350 feet upon completion with the capability to accommodate the largest corporate jets such as the Boeing Business Aircraft. The project will take an estimated four months to complete and will employ 33 construction workers. The $3.5 million cost for the project is one hundred percent funded with DuPage Airport Authority revenue.
“This construction project allows us to use our extended secondary runway as a backup when maintenance is being performed on the primary runway,” says Bird. “Upon completion, we will have sufficient runway length so that we can close the primary runway without compromising safety and still provide the ability to accommodate all flight operations.” The construction is not expected to impact flight operations, Bird added.
The five year wait for FAA approval on the project was standard, according to Bird. Despite the fact that the project is locally funded, the FAA requires approval every step of the way, including changes in the airport master plan, public hearings and environmental studies that evaluate noise and other environmental impacts.
DuPage Airport’s vital role as a reliever airport was tested during the recent NATO summit when air traffic at the facility quadrupled in daily volume without any delays. Many flights normally scheduled for O’Hare or Midway airports were diverted to DuPage.
Last year, the Airport was praised by the National Chamber of Commerce and US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called the facility “a model for the nation.” This year, the facility received the Excellence in Procurement Award from the Airport Consultants Council (ACC).