Midway International Airport is located on the southwest side of Chicago, eight miles from the Loop. It’s the second-largest passenger airport in the Chicago airport, and in the entire state of Illinois. Built in 1923 the Chicago Air Park had twelve hangars and four runways. It primarily served small airmail contractors until 1931, when a new passenger terminal and administration building were dedicated by Mayor Anton Cermak. By the very next year, the airport boasted over 100,000 passengers who rode on 60,947 flights, earning it the title of the World’s Busiest airport.
In 1941, Midway played a part in World War II initiatives primarily because of its location and long runways. This proved to be a great benefit to the airport, as $1 million from the Works Progress Administration funded the construction of additional runways, while a judge ordered the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad to reroute all of its tracks bordering the airfield to accommodate the expansion. That year, 25% of the nation’s air passengers were handled by Midway.
The airport officially gained the name of “Chicago Midway Airport” in 1949 by way of a unanimous vote of Chicago’s City Council. The name was given to honor the Battle of Midway, fought during World War II. 3.2 million passengers passed through the airport in 1949, a number that grew to 3.5 million the following year and ballooned to 10 million by 1959.
Massive reconstruction efforts began in 1967, bolstered in part by $10 million invested in the airport in 1968 by the City of Chicago. These funds added 28 gates, three ticket counters, and partially funded the Stevenson Expressway, which has become a major route to the airport for passengers. In 1993, the Chicago Transit Authority opened a new terminal at the airport, connecting passengers throughout the city to the airport via public transit.
The City of Chicago has continued to invest in Midway International Airport, and passengers have reaped the benefits. Over 75% of all flights to the airport arrived on time in 2007, and ranked highest in customer satisfaction in 2008, as per J.D. Power and Associates. The airport continues to handle a large number of passengers everyday, serving as one of Chicago’s major transportation hubs.
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