Air traffic quadruples at DuPage Airport during NATO
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:52AM
Increased air traffic diverted as a result of temporary flight restrictions over Chicago during the NATO conference last week quadrupled the usual volume at DuPage Airport, a general aviation facility which is home to many corporate flight departments and government operations.
“The volume of traffic far exceeded our expectations,” said David Bird, DuPage Airport executive director, “but it speaks well for the airport that we were able to handle it without delays because we have the runway length, the hangar capacity and the personnel who are capable of handling that volume in stride.”
Bird said that on a daily basis, the airport normally sells 7,000 gallons of aviation fuel to aircraft using the facility, but on May 21, it sold 28,000 gallons. Most of the flights accommodated by DuPage were diverted from major commercial airports, such as O’Hare and Midway, where flight patterns were affected by the temporary flight restrictions.
The airport has four active runways, a 1-million-square-foot apron and 2 ILS approaches. The longest runway spans 7,500 feet and is the second longest in the Chicago area after O’Hare. Aside from O’Hare and Midway, DuPage is the only facility in the region with a 24-hour control tower and is also equipped with a 24/7 airfield rescue and firefighting vehicle.
The DuPage Flight Center offers services and amenities, including an on-site restaurant, and catering and concierge support for more than 60 dining, hotel, theater and shopping options.
Bird said elsewhere in the Chicago area, businesses complained that they had not benefitted from the NATO conference, but the increases traffic at the DuPage facility provided a welcome boost to the suburban airport and local businesses.