Another Troubling List with Chicago On Top

October 11, 2011

When you leave your Chicago real estate to catch a flight, did you know you were traveling to the most dangerous airport in the nation?

According to Travel & Leisure magazine, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is No. 1 on its list of Most Dangerous U.S. Airports.

planes at o'hareThe magazine looked at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Runway Safety reports and rated the 35 busiest U.S. airports based on close calls on the runways over the past five years.

O’Hare was found to have more near collisions and runway incidents than any other airport in the nation. The data reported 75 runway incidents over the past half decade.

Cleveland’s Hopkins Airport came in second with 45 runway incidents.

While everything from weather to wildlife can contribute to a runway incident, it’s often human error.

Travel & Leisure mentioned a particular incident at O’Hare in 2006: A United Airlines plane was picking up speed on the runway when an Atlas Air plane rolled into its path. The United pilot reacted and prevented a collision, but only by 120 feet.

“Two-thirds of all runway incursions are caused by pilot deviation,” says Wes Timmons, FAA’s recently retired director of runway safety.

O’Hare’s unsafe runway configuration also plays a role, however, and there is a plan in place to fix it.

A $6.6 billion expansion project scheduled to be completed in 2014 will add new runways, expand existing ones and reconfigure the set-up to be safer.

Until then, don’t think you can travel further south for a safer ride: Chicago’s Midway Airport ranked as 11th most dangerous in the country with 23 incidents in five years.

For more information on the study, including complete methodology and the entire list, visit travelandleisure.com.

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