Passengers share their Midway experiences
The rise of MidwayToday, Midway ranks among the nation’s busiest airports, serving more than 17.5 million people in 2010 alone.
But this wasn’t always the case.
In fact, Midway wasn’t even called Midway when the airport opened in 1927, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Only after World War II’s Battle of Midway did the airport get its name.
“The changes at Midway have been quite dramatic,” said Aaron Gellman, a professor at Northwestern University’s Transportation Center and Kellogg School of Management. “Midway was really a very ground-level operation.”
Over the years, Midway has continued to expand its services, thanks in large part to Southwest Airlines, which helped keep the airport in business following the 1991 bankruptcy of Midway Airlines. At the time, Midway Airlines represented nearly three-fourths of the traffic coming through the airport.
“Activity at Midway really began to pick up throughout the 1990s,” said Gregg Cunningham, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Aviation. “In 2004, Midway’s passenger volume reached an all-time high of 19.5 million passengers.”
While the recent recession slowed business at Midway, Cunningham said the airport, the fastest-growing airport in the country in 2009, has started to see a turnaround.
“Midway has experienced a recovery and growth in passengers following some challenging times for the aviation industry as a whole,” he said. “Midway continues to be a high-demand, strong origin and destination market.”