Chicago's O'Hare Airport: Not Enough Places to Land

Because of its central location, Chicago's O'Hare is the busiest and most congested air-travel crossroads on the continent. Serving as a hub for the two largest U.S. carriers, United and American airlines, O'Hare is expected to handle about 57 million passengers and 800,000 flights this year. At peak periods air-traffic controllers direct up to 210 takeoffs and landings an hour. The airport, once an apple orchard (hence the call letters ORD), is functioning at 96% of capacity and has no room to expand because suburbs surround it. Yet air traffic is still growing. For the first seven months of this year,...

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