Since 2000, the FAA has made an inventory of runway safety areas at Midwest airports and targeted the zones that need improvements.
Between 2000 and now, airports in the region have improved runway safety areas on 46 runways, Molinaro said.
Thirty-seven airports, including Midway, have still not complied, Molinaro said.
All except two of the shorter runways at O'Hare International Airport meet or exceed the 1,000-foot standard, the FAA said, adding that the runway safety area on those shorter runways varies from 500 feet to 896 feet.
"We are more focused on Midway because the runways there are shorter than the runways at O'Hare," Molinaro said.
Almost 300 of the U.S.' 427 commercial airports have runways that do not meet the 1,000-foot standard. They must comply or provide alternate safety methods by 2015.
None of the four landing approaches to Midway meet the 1,000-foot standard, the FAA said.
A scant 82 feet separated the end of Runway 31 Center and a jet-engine blast wall struck by the Southwest Boeing 737-700 on Thursday. The safety zone at the other end of the same runway is even shorter, only 48 feet, according to the FAA.
Midway's longest safety zone, off the tip of Runway 22 Left on the northeast side of the airport, measures 127 feet, the FAA said.
Extending the zones to 1,000 feet would require major demolition of dozens--perhaps hundreds--of homes and businesses surrounding the airport, especially on the southwest, southeast and northwest corners. An expansion of runway safety areas beyond the existing northeast corner of the airport would primarily affect remote parking lots.
The southeast corner would likely be the most challenging. A 1,000-foot extension of runway 31C would jut deeply into dozens of residences, reaching about as far as West 64th Street and Kilpatrick Avenue. The extension of the 31R runway would cut across Cicero Avenue and clip at least a dozen homes between West 61st and West 62nd Streets, between Cicero and South Keating Avenue.
Meanwhile, the family of Joshua Woods was busy Monday making burial funeral arrangements for the boy.
Visitation will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Smits Funeral Homes-Steger Memorial Chapel in Steger.
A funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the home at 3045 Chicago Rd.
Tribune staff reporters John McCormick and Carlos Sadovi contributed to this report
The FAA asked city aviation officials in the spring of 2004 to submit safety recommendations for the zones, which are spots where planes can safely stop if they overrun a runway.
200- to 300-foot concrete beds would be made of lightweight bricks designed to collapse under the weight of an aircraft, safely slowing the plane.
Sen. Evan Bayh is urging Trans. Sec. Norman Mineta to approve $42M in funding for lengthening the main runway and making other improvements at Gary/Chicago Int'l.
Oct. 7--The city is spending $11 million to install crushable concrete blocks aimed at halting airplanes if they overshoot a diagonal runway at O'Hare International Airport. The safety...