Re-elect Dan Lipinski Congressman

Lipinski Calls on Southwest Airlines to Reduce Delays at Midway Airport

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) called on Southwest Airlines to take action to reduce delays at Midway Airport, which placed last in on-time departure performance among the nation’s 29 busiest airports from December 2009 through November 2010.

“When nearly three out of ten flights are late taking off, there’s a problem that needs to be fixed,” said Congressman Lipinski, the only Chicagoland member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. “As a critical source of jobs and an economic engine for the Third District and the entire Chicago region, Midway must function smoothly, especially given that travelers have other options. I know Southwest can do better.”

In a letter addressed to Southwest President and CEO Gary C. Kelly, Congressman Lipinski requests information on the airline’s challenges and obstacles to on-time performance at Midway; the measures it is taking to prevent late takeoffs; and the impact of the airline’s merger with AirTran on future performance at Midway. The letter also was sent to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Southwest carries more than 85 percent of Midway passengers, making its performance a key determinant of the airport’s overall on-time record. Prior to last year, Midway recorded fewer delays – less than a quarter of all takeoffs were delayed by 15 minutes or more in both 2008 and 2009.

Midway generates approximately $7 billion in economic activity annually and 90,000 jobs. It attracted more than 17 million passengers in 2009 thanks to its close proximity to downtown, accessibility to the residents of Southwest Chicagoland, and affordability.

“I look forward to your response and to continuing to work with you in the effort to improve service at the Chicago Midway International Airport,” Congressman Lipinski’s letter states. “Improving service at Midway is not only critical to my Congressional district and greater Chicagoland, but necessary to improve efficiency of the national air transportation network.”

(January 14, 2011)

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