Midway International Airport
|Chicago Midway International Airport|
|Owner||City of Chicago|
|Operator||Chicago Department of Aviation|
|Serves||Chicago, Illinois, US|
|Location||Chicago, Illinois, US|
|Opened||December 1927 |
|Hub for||Southwest Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||620 ft / 189 m|
FAA airport diagram
Formerly Chicago's main airport, traffic is currently dominated by low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines. Midway is the Dallas-based carrier's largest focus city, as of 2013. The airport suffered a decline in traffic with the opening of O'Hare International Airport but later experienced significant traffic growth. Midway Airport is the second-largest passenger airport in the Chicago metropolitan area, as well as the state of Illinois, after O'Hare International Airport on the Northwest Side.
- 1 History
- 2 Airfield
- 3 Terminals
- 4 Airlines and destinations
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Accidents and incidents
- 7 Transit
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early history (1923–1962)
Originally named Chicago Air Park, Midway Airport was built on a 320-acre (130 ha) plot in 1923 with one cinder runway mainly for airmail flights. In 1926 the city leased the airport and named it Chicago Municipal Airport on December 12, 1927. By 1928, the airport had twelve hangars and four runways, lit for night operations.
A major fire early on June 25, 1930, destroyed two hangars and 27 aircraft, "12 of them tri-motor passenger planes." The loss was estimated at more than two million dollars. The hangars destroyed were of the Universal Air Lines, Inc., and the Grey Goose Airlines, the latter under lease to Stout Air Lines. The fire followed an explosion of undetermined cause in the Universal hangar.
In 1931 a new passenger terminal opened at 62nd St; the following year the airport claimed to be the "World's Busiest" with over 100,846 passengers on 60,947 flights. (The July 1932 Official Aviation Guide shows 206 scheduled airline departures a week.)
More construction was funded in part by $1 million from the Works Progress Administration; the airport expanded to fill the square mile in 1938–41 after a court ordered the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad to reroute tracks that had crossed the square along the northern edge of the older field.
The March 1939 OAG shows 47 weekday departures: 13 on United, 13 American, 9 TWA, 4 Northwest, and two each on Eastern, Braniff, Pennsylvania Central, and C&S. New York's airport (Newark, then LaGuardia by the end of 1939) was then the busiest airline airport in the United States, but Midway passed LaGuardia in 1948 and kept the title until 1960. The record-breaking 1945 Japan–Washington flight of B-29s refueled at the airport on their way to Washington DC.
In July 1949 the airport was renamed after the Battle of Midway. That year Midway saw 3.2 million passengers; passengers peaked at 10 million in 1959. The diagram on the January 1951 C&GS approach chart shows four parallel pairs of runways, all 4240 ft or less except for 5730-ft runway 13R and 5230-ft runway 4R. Airport diagram for 1959
The April 1957 OAG shows 414 weekday fixed-wing departures from Midway: 83 American, 83 United, 56 TWA, 40 Capital, 35 North Central, 28 Delta, 27 Eastern, 22 Northwest, 19 Ozark, 11 Braniff, 5 Trans-Canada, and 5 Lake Central. Air France, Lufthansa, and REAL (of Brazil) had a few flights per week. Midway was running out of room and in any case could not handle the 707 and DC-8 jets that appeared in 1959; every Chicago jet flight had to use O'Hare, which had opened to the airlines in 1955. Electras and Viscounts could have continued to fly out of Midway, but O'Hare's capacious new terminal opened in 1962, allowing airlines to consolidate their flights. From July 1962 until United returned in July 1964, Midway's only scheduled airline was Chicago Helicopter. In August 1966 a total of four fixed-wing arrivals were scheduled, all United 727s (United was alone at Midway until early 1968).
Post-O'Hare reconstruction (1963–1993)
By 1967 reconstruction began at the airport, adding three new concourses with 28 gates and three ticket counters, and in 1968 the city invested $10 million in renovation funds. (For a few months during the 1967 renovation Midway had no scheduled airline flights.) The funds partly supported construction of the Stevenson Expressway, and Midway saw the return of major airlines that year, with 1,663,074 passengers on jets such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-9, BAC One-Eleven, Boeing 727, and Boeing 737 that could use Midway's runways, which the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 could not. In May 1968 there were 22 scheduled departures: six United 727s to MSP, DCA and LGA, 12 Northwest 727s to MSP and CLE, one Delta DC-9 to STL and three Ozark FH227s.
The December 1970 OAG shows 86 weekday arrivals (77 jet) on 13 fixed-wing airlines from 31 airports, but the August 1974 shows 14 arrivals (all jet) on four airlines, and in 1976–79 Midway had only the two or three Delta DC-9s from St Louis. Midway Airlines arrived on October 31, 1979 with DC-9 nonstops to Kansas City, Detroit and Cleveland Lakefront; they expanded greatly in the 1980s. Their September 1989 timetable shows 117 weekday departures to 29 cities, plus 108 departures on their commuter affiliates to 22 more cities. Midway quit flying in 1991.
In 1982, the city of Chicago purchased Midway Airport from the Chicago Board of Education for $16 million. Three years later, Southwest Airlines began operations at Midway. Midway was a focus city for Vanguard Airlines from 1997 to 2000.
The Chicago Transit Authority displaced the Carlton Midway Inn to open a new CTA terminal at the airport on October 31, 1993, for the new Chicago 'L' Orange Line that connected Midway to Chicago's Loop. Midway Airport is the end of the line, which crosses the southwest part of the city before ending at the Loop. The Orange Line does not run 24 hours a day (unlike the Blue Line, which has 24-hour service to O'Hare), but does operate from about 4:00 am to 1:00 am, at an average of 8-minute intervals. The trip from Midway to the Loop takes 25 minutes.
Years of ATA (1994–2008)
In 1996, after failing to get his Lake Calumet Airport and having received harsh criticism for the idea of turning the airport into an industrial park, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced the Midway Airport Terminal Development Program, which was launched the following year. At the time, it was the largest public works project in the state. The Midway Airport parking garage opened in 1999, bringing covered parking to the airport for the first time. The garage is connected to the Midway terminal building for convenient access to ticket counters and baggage claim areas.
Continuing with the expansion project, a pedestrian bridge over Cicero Avenue was built in 2000, connecting the new terminal to the new concourses. In 2001 the new 900,000-square-foot (84,000 m2) Midway Airport terminal building opened, with larger ticket counters, spacious baggage claim areas, traveler information, and a short walking distance to gates. A 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) food court opened with Chicago-style food and retail options.
ATA took over Chicago Express Airlines, also known as ATA Connection, whose primary hub was at Midway. Chicago Express served as a regional airline connecting to airports around the great lakes regions.
Following the September 11 attacks, which resulted in a drop in passenger service, along with other problems for the airline industry, both Vanguard and National ceased operations at Midway and became defunct in 2002, with MetroJet being dissolved and refolded into US Airways' main line in late 2001.
In 2002 Midway welcomed the return of international service after a 40-year absence with the opening of the new Federal Inspection Service facility in Concourse A.
In June 2004, Mayor Daley and airline officials celebrated the completion of the Terminal Development Program. The project, designed by HNTB resulted in the addition of 14 gates (from 29 to 43), with the airport now having 43 gates on 3 concourses. A new 6,300-space economy parking garage, including a new bridge and roadway for buses shuttling passengers to and from the terminal, opened in December 2005.
Simultaneous to Midway's expansion, ATA Airlines began rapid expansion at Midway in the early 2000s (decade), and was the airport's dominant carrier prior to 2004, using 14 of the 17 gates in Concourse A. However, after the airline declared bankruptcy in October 2004, scheduled service from Midway significantly decreased.
For over 16 years, Midway had been the main hub for Indianapolis-based ATA, but the airline shut down on June 7, 2008. Earlier, the airline filed for bankruptcy in April 2008; on April 3, 2008, ATA Airlines discontinued all operations.
In November 2008, Porter Airlines, which flies between Midway and Toronto, Canada, was the only international route served from Chicago–Midway after ATA Airlines, which had flights to Mexico, ceased operations in April that year. On December 13, 2010, a second carrier, Volaris, began flights between Guadalajara and Midway.
Rapid Southwest Expansion (2009–present)
Starting in early 2009, a construction project added a new walkway and food court to Concourse A. The project also connected gates A4A and A4B to the main A concourse. Expansions were completed in the spring of 2010.
Chicago has considered privatizing the airport, but the deals fell through in 2009 and 2013.
On April 20, 2009 a $2.5 billion deal to privatize the airport via a 99-year lease fell through when the consortium could not put together financing. The City is to keep $125 million in the down payment. The consortium operating under the name of Midway Investment and Development Company LLC consisted of Vancouver Airport Services, Citi Infrastructure Investors, and Boston's John Hancock Life Insurance. It was awarded the contract in October 2008 by the City Council, which voted 49–0 to approve it. The consortium would have operated the airport and collected airport parking, concession, and passenger facility charges. However, Chicago would have continued to provide fire and police services. Chicago privatized the Chicago Skyway in 2007. In 2010 a new slogan emerged calling the airport The busiest square mile in the world.
In September 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel terminated negotiations to privatize the airport, noting that the process was no longer competitive after one of the two finalists had backed out. The one remaining was Great Lakes Airport Alliance – a partnership of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and Ferrovial. Macquarie was one of the investors in the Chicago Skyway. The group that had backed out was a group that included the Australia-based Industry Funds Management and Manchester Airports Group. The Great Lakes proposal had been valued at $2 billion and would have involved a 40-year lease.
All terminals and hangars were on the square periphery. By the late 1970s, the shorter north–south and east–west runway pairs had been closed, though some were converted to taxiways. The other four runways remain in use, all strengthened and enhanced, but about the same lengths as always. A short runway (13R/31L) for light aircraft was added in 1989.
Chicago Midway International Airport covers one square mile (1 square mile (640 acres; 260 ha)) and has five runways:
- 13C/31C: 6,522 ft × 150 ft (1,988 m × 46 m), air carrier runway, ILS-equipped.
- 4R/22L: 6,445 ft × 150 ft (1,964 m × 46 m), air carrier runway, ILS-equipped.
- 4L/22R: 5,507 ft × 150 ft (1,679 m × 46 m), general aviation and air taxi.
- 13L/31R: 5,141 ft × 150 ft (1,567 m × 46 m), general aviation and air taxi. Used as an Emergency Runway for commercial aircraft.
- 13R/31L: 3,859 ft × 60 ft (1,176 m × 18 m), light aircraft only. Used as an Emergency Runway for commercial aircraft.
Midway is surrounded by buildings and other development, so the landing thresholds of the runways are displaced to provide obstacle clearance. The FAA and the airlines ensure safety by adhering to calculated load limits and various weather minimums. Because of the displaced landing thresholds, the runways have shorter distances available for landings than for takeoffs. 13C/31C, the longest runway, only has an available landing distance of 6,059 feet (1,847 m) in the southeast direction, and 5,826 feet (1,776 m) to the northwest. The largest aircraft normally seen at Midway is the Boeing 757. Normally, commercial planes only take off from and land on runways 4R/22L and 13C/31C. The other runways are used by smaller aircraft.
The carrier transporting the most passengers from Chicago Midway Airport is Southwest Airlines. In 2008, a total of 17,340,497 passengers were carried through MDW, a 10.52% decrease from the previous year. Also in 2008, 253,901 aircraft passed through Midway Airport, a 16.66% decrease from 2007.
Midway has 43 aircraft gates on three concourses (A, B, and C)
The three concourses and their gates are:
- Concourse A – 17 gates (A1–A3, A4A–B, A5, A7, A9–A12, A14–A19)
- Concourse B – 23 gates (B1–B3, B5–B12, B14–B26)
- Concourse C – 3 gates (C1–C3)
Airlines and destinations
Chicago Midway Airport is the second-largest passenger airport in the state of Illinois, with only O'Hare being larger. In 2005, Chicago Midway International Airport was the 30th-busiest airport in the United States in terms of passenger traffic.
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||529,000||Delta, Southwest|
|2||Las Vegas, Nevada||445,000||Southwest|
|3||Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota||428,000||Delta, Southwest|
|6||Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona||369,000||Southwest|
|8||New York City–LaGuardia, New York||298,000||Southwest|
|9||Los Angeles, California||298,000||Southwest|
|2||Toronto (Billy Bishop), Canada||159,128||3.4%||Porter Airlines|
|3||Punta Cana, Dominican Republic||92,043||45%||Southwest|
|4||Montego Bay, Jamaica||90,544||82.6%||Southwest|
|8||León/Del Bajío, Mexico||25,930||13.1%||Volaris|
|Year||Passenger volume||Change over previous year||Aircraft operations||Cargo tonnage|
Accidents and incidents
On December 8, 1972, United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737-200, crashed into a residential area outside Midway during landing. The crash of the 737-200 killed 43 of the 61 on board, and two on the ground. One of the victims on the plane was Dorothy Hunt, the wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt. She was carrying $10,000 in cash. James McCord alleged that she supplied the Watergate defendants with money for legal expenses.
Exactly 33 years later, on December 8, 2005, Southwest Airlines Flight 1248, a Boeing 737-700 inbound from Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Baltimore, Maryland, slid off the runway while attempting to land at the airport in a heavy snow storm. The airplane broke through the barrier fence of the airport, and came to rest at the intersection of 55th Street and Central Avenue bordering the airport at its northwest corner. A 6-year-old boy was killed as a passenger in a vehicle that was struck by the plane after it skidded into the street.
|May 31, 1936||NC14979||DC-2||Trans World Airlines||-||On approach to 27L, 1 engine out, strong gusts, crashed half a mile east of field|
|December 4, 1940||NC25678||DC-3A||United Airlines||6356 S. Keating Ave.||Pilot lost sight in bad weather and crashed on landing approach resulting in nine deaths.|
|May 20, 1943||42–7053||B-24E||U.S. Army Air Force||3625 W. 73rd St.||On approach, disoriented in bad weather, hit huge gas storage tank 2.5 miles (4.0 km) southeast|
|September 26, 1946||NC19939||DC-3||Trans World Airlines||West of 96th Ave. at 97th St.||Midair collision with Boeing PT-17, DC-3 limped in to Midway|
|July 2, 1946||NC28383||DC-3||Trans World Airlines||-||Crashed 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northeast of field|
|March 10, 1948||NC37478||DC-4||Delta Air Lines||5000 W. 55th St.||Plane took off 36L, at 150 feet (46 m) went vertical, at 500 feet (150 m) nosed over, crashed on 55th St.|
|March 26, 1949||NC90736||DC-6||American Airlines||-||Hit power lines on approach|
|December 18, 1949||NC86501||L-049||Trans World Airlines||-||Landing too far down 13R, crashed through fence, ended up at 63rd and Cicero|
|January 4, 1951||N79982||C-46||Monarch Airlines||-||Overloaded taking off on 31L, could not climb, crashed on railroad tracks one half-mile northeast|
|September 16, 1951||N74689||C-46||Peninsula Transport||-||Belly-landed 500 yards (460 m) away at northeast 63rd and Harlem|
|March 3, 1953||N6214C||L-1049||Eastern Airlines||On field||Landed on 31L, gear collapsed, skidded southwest toward Hale School|
|July 17, 1955||N3422||Convair 340||Braniff International Airways||On field||Hit gas station sign on approach to 13R, flipped over, crashed|
|August 5, 1955||N74601||Boeing 377||Northwest Airlines||-||Landed 31L, could not stop, crashed through fence at 55th and Central|
|February 20, 1956||N7404||Vickers Viscount||Capitol||On field||Landing on 31L, plane flopped in 300 feet (91 m) short of threshold|
|March 15, 1959||N94273||Convair 240||American Airlines||-||Lost sight of 31L on approach, crashed in railroad yard one half-mile south of field|
|November 24, 1959||N102R||L-1049H||Trans World Airlines||Came to rest 63rd and Kilpatrick||Plane departed 31L, fire on No. 2, circled to land 31L, crashed 0.2 miles (0.32 km) southeast of field|
|September 1, 1961||N86511||L-049||Trans World Airlines||-||Plane departed Midway, lost elevator bolt, crashed near Hinsdale, Illinois|
|December 8, 1972||N9031U||737-200||United Airlines||71st and Springfield||Aircraft descended too low on approach to 31L and struck houses, crashed 1.25 miles (2.01 km) southeast of airport|
|March 25, 1976||N1EM||Lockheed Jetstar||Executive||On field||Pilot unfamiliar with plane attempted take off 13R, never airborne, crashed into fence 63rd and Cicero|
|August 6, 1976||N9446Z||TB-25N||Air Chicago||61st and Moody Avenue||Poor maintenance, plane took off 4L, lost engine 2, crashed 0.4 miles (0.64 km) west of field|
|December 8, 2005||N471WN||737-700||Southwest Airlines||55th & Central||Landed 31C during a snowstorm, crashed through a fence, hit 2 cars, killed a child in car on 55th and Central|
Source: Civil Aeronautics Board archives, NTSB records.
Note: The runway now designated 13C/31C was designated 13R/31L until 1989, when a new Runway 13R/31L was built. Runways 27L and 36L have been closed since the 1970s.
Midway Airport is served by the Chicago Transit Authority's "L" trains. Passengers can board Orange Line trains at a station in the airport terminal, which runs to downtown Chicago and the Loop (transit time about 25 minutes). This same station doubles as a stop for many CTA bus routes that serve the surrounding areas. Midway is one of the few (at least 12) airports in the United States that has rapid transit train to terminal service.
- Gary/Chicago International Airport
- Chicago Rockford International Airport
- Meigs Field
- Illinois World War II Army Airfields
- 2014 air traffic control facility fire
- "Midway Airport". Encyclopedia of Chicago.
- FAA Airport Master Record for MDW ( PDF). Effective October 17, 2013.
- "Air Traffic Data". Chicago Department of Aviation. January 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- "Southwest/AirTran Top Ten Airports by Departures". Southwest Airlines. August 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- Schulte, Sarah. "SWA flights take off at Midway, airline's largest hub." WLS-TV. April 4, 2011. Retrieved on April 4, 2011.
- "Chicago Airport System Airport Statistics". Chicago Airport System. December 1, 2007.
- "Chicago Transportation: Chicago Midway Airport". USA Today. May 12, 2007. Archived from the original on January 2, 2007.
- "History of Midway International Airport". Fly Chicago. April 28, 2007.
- Associated Press, "27 Planes Burn In Chicago Fire", Sarasota Herald, Sarasota, Florida, Wednesday 25 June 1930, Volume 5, Number 224, page one.
- "Midway Airport Visitors Guide (History Section)" (PDF). FlyChicago.com. May 12, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 14, 2008.
- Official Aviation Guide, Chicago IL: Official Aviation Guide Company, 1939
- This video of Chicago Midway Airport in 1954 shows the increase in traffic that Midway Airport experienced during the 1950s."Chicago Midway Airport – 1954". YouTube. December 2, 2007.
- Official Airline Guide, Washington DC: American Aviation Publications, 1957
- Airport Activity Statistics shows 208,086 total enplanements in 1968.
- UA had 25 flights from DEN, DSM, MLI, LGA, OMA, PIT, and DCA; AA had 13 from DTW, EWR, ROC and STL; NW had 10 from MSP and CLE.
- "Southwest Airlines Fact Sheet: Top Ten Airports". Southwest Airlines. May 12, 2007.
- "Midway Airlines". Encyclopedia of Chicago. April 27, 2007.
- "Early History/Post O'hare history". The Tracon. April 6, 2007.
- "New Midway Terminal". Airport-Technology.com. April 6, 2007.[unreliable source?]
- HNTB – Chicago Midway Airport
- "ATA Facts". ATA Airlines. December 1, 2007. Archived from the original on March 28, 2008.
- Mutzabaugh, Ben. "ATA to end service to DCA, LGA". USA Today.[dead link]
- "ATA Airlines to Discontinue Scheduled Service at Chicago's Midway Airport". ATA Airlines. PR Newswire.
- Midway Airport deal falls apart: Consortium can't borrow cash needed to finance deal – Chicago Tribune – April 21, 2009
- Chicago Halts Airport Lease – WSJ.com. Online.wsj.com (September 5, 2013). Retrieved on September 18, 2013.
- Emanuel halts Midway privatization bidding – Chicago Tribune. Articles.chicagotribune.com (September 6, 2013). Retrieved on September 18, 2013.
- "MDW FAA Information Effective 11 February 2010". AirNav. February 11, 2010.
- "Monthly Operations, Passengers, Cargo Summary By Class For December 2008" (PDF). Chicago Department of Aviation. January 21, 2009.
- "Southwest coming to CVG, adding flights to Baltimore, Chicago". Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- "2005 North America Final Traffic Report: Total Passengers". Airports Council International North America. April 8, 2007. Archived from the original on January 3, 2008.
- "Customer Satisfaction with Airports Declines Sharply Amid an Industry Fraught with Flight Delays" (PDF). J.D. Power and Associates. May 20, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 25, 2008.
- "Southwest's Daily Departures from MDW". Southwest Airlines.
- "Chicago, IL: Chicago Midway International (MDW)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics, United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- "BTS Air Carriers : T-100 International Market (All Carriers)". Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- Statistical Handbook of Aviation, FAA Air Traffic Activity
- "Crash Mrs. Hunt Died In Blamed On Pilot Error". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. UPI. September 28, 1973. p. 16-A. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- "Boy dies as jet skids off runway". BBC News. December 9, 2005. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- "Plane Crash Toll at Nine". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. December 6, 1940. p. 12.
- "6 Dead in Crash of U.S. Airliner". The Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. December 5, 1940. p. 1.
- Chicago, Illinois, "Gas Tank Quiz Promised in Air Disaster – Bomber Crash Kills 12 on Board", Chicago Daily Tribune, May 21, 1943, page 1.
- War Department, U.S. Army Air Forces Form 14, Report of Aircraft Accident, May 25, 1943.
- "Map of "L" Train". Chicago Transit Authority. August 2007. Other U.S. airports with rapid transit service directly serving the airport terminal (rather than requiring a shuttle or similar connection between a rapid transit line and the terminal) are Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Also St. Louis, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Denver, JFK (which uses the same mass transit trains as Vancouver), etc.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chicago Midway International Airport.|
- Official website
- Midway: Terminal and Concourse Maps
- TWA Crash of 1959
- 1972 Crash Summary
- openNav: MDW / KMDW charts
- Early Midway images
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. IL-305, "Midway Airport, South Terminal, Cicero Avenue between Fifty-fifth & Sixty-third Streets, Chicago, Cook County, IL"
- (PDF), effective February 2, 2017
- Resources for this airport: