"This is a crucial step in the process
to alleviate air congestion in northeastern Illinois," said Timothy
W. Martin, secretary of the Department of Transportation. "Moving
forward with the South Suburban Airport, as the city of Chicago
modernizes O'Hare, is crucial to meeting the long-term needs of
aviation in our nation. When there is a hiccup at O'Hare, the
reverberations are felt throughout our nation's aviation system.
These two projects are, without a doubt, a national priority."
The Federal Aviation Administration's
approval of the demand forecast report for the new SSA airport in
Will County is the foundation upon which the airport will be
developed. The forecast numbers approved by the FAA on Monday will
be used for development of the master plan for the airport, for
necessary environmental studies and to create a new timeline for
"What has been approved shows that the
potential for uses of the SSA are great and that an airport in Will
County is viable," Martin said. "The market demand is there. We have
known this, and now the FAA has confirmed it. We needed to quantify
it to move forward, before we invested more time, money and other
resources. This document is our proof, and now we can focus on the
other important steps in making it a reality."
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The forecast numbers approved by the
FAA show that in a very conservative estimate, first-year use of the
airport would be nearly 17,000 operations (landings and takeoffs)
and could be as great as 60,000. The forecast growth shows that in
the fifth year of full operations, the number of landings and
takeoffs at the airport could be as high as 85,000.
The lowest-case scenario for commercial
passenger boardings is estimated to be almost 20,000 for the first
year of operations, growing to 471,000 after five years, based on
the lowest case of study. The high-case forecast estimates passenger
boardings at nearly 170,000 in the first year, growing to nearly 1
million after five years.
Using these numbers, the Department of
Transportation will proceed with the next step in development of the
master plan, which addresses the layout and specific requirements of
the airport, including runway specifications, terminal size and
number of gates.
letter of approval and more information on the forecast numbers can
be found on the Illinois Department of Transportation website at
Department of Transportation