West Chicago — After six months of construction and a five-year FAA approval process, DuPage Airport has completed construction to extend its secondary runway. The 1,343 foot extension strengthens capabilities at the general aviation facility that serves corporate flight departments and national security operations.
Completed in January, the project brings the length of the airport’s secondary runway to 6,350 feet, and provides significant operational flexibility. The extended runway affords the airport with not one, but two runways capable of accommodating large corporate jets such as the Boeing Business Aircraft. Spanning 7,570 feet, the airport’s primary runway is the second longest in the Chicago area after O’Hare International Airport.
“The extended runway gives us additional flexibility and added safety by allowing us to use the secondary runway as a backup when maintenance is being performed on the primary runway,” said airport Executive Director David Bird. “The airport can now handle a larger volume of aircraft, allowing us to increase our customer base and offer continually improved operations.”
The $3.5 million cost for the project was funded one hundred percent with DuPage Airport Authority revenue and employed 33 construction workers. Construction did not impact flight operations, Bird noted.
Other facility improvements in the pipeline include a $9 million widening of the primary runway and interior renovations to the airport’s café, lobby and pilot’s lounge. The Authority has also announced a 2013 taxy levy abatement of $500,000, bringing total abatements since 2010 to $2.5 million.
DuPage’s vital role was as a reliever airport was put to the test during last year’s NATO summit, when traffic quadrupled in volume without a single delay. The airport served as transportation hub for the 2012 Ryder Cup at nearby Medinah Country Club, experiencing record activity of planes transporting athletes, fans and corporate sponsors.