Even as Chicago prepares to open a new runway at O’Hare International Airport, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration last week said future air traffic demand will require much more flight capacity in the region.

Either existing airports must be greatly expanded or a new facility must be built in addition to the $8 billion runway expansion at O’Hare, according to published reports of remarks by FAA acting administrator Robert Sturgell. The added capacity is needed to keep the entire air traffic grid working efficiently as Chicago is considered a national aviation hub. Passenger levels could double over the next seven years.

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