3rd airport could be air cargo leader

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Responses to a state request for South Suburban Airport marketing strategies appear to be far more optimistic about attracting cargo traffic to a new airport than commercial passenger flights.

The SouthtownStar obtained responses to an Illinois Department of Transportation “Request for Information” publicly posted in February through the Freedom of Information Act.

The purpose of the RFI was to “obtain specific ideas and goals that will help generate a comprehensive and effective strategy to market commercial air passenger and air cargo activity” at the South Suburban Airport, according to a statement by IDOT.

There were four responses in all, none from an airline and only one from a business that seemed to have limited experience in airport construction.

The harshest criticism of the airport plan came from a response filed jointly by A. Epstein and Sons International and Flak International of Olympia Fields.

It states that the South Suburban Airport master plan “appears to have a major fatal flaw.”

That flaw, the response contends, is the initial runway length of 9,500 feet, would fail to accommodate some of the largest freight hauling aircraft in the world which require a runway of at least 11,000 feet. Despite that criticism, however, the Epstein/Flak response paints an optimistic picture for the future of the South Suburban Airport, especially as an international destination for cargo, if the runway is lengthened.

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