Midway Airport

From Academic Kids

Chicago Midway Airport is an airport in Chicago, Illinois, located on the city's southwest side. It is bordered by 55th Street, 63rd Street, Central Avenue, and Cicero Avenue. It uses MDW as its IATA Airport Code. Midway is heavily used by low-cost carriers, and to a lesser extent by "main line" carriers. It is a somewhat smaller alternative to the hectic O'Hare International Airport, though in the early 2000s it underwent a good deal of expansion.

Before the rise of O'Hare in the late 1950s, Midway was the world's busiest airport and one of the key hubs in the U.S. airline system. United Airlines was headquartered at Midway in the pre-O'Hare days, and American Airlines was originally based at Midway until it moved its headquarters to New York City in the mid-1930s. There was also a very large presence from TWA and Eastern Airlines, as well as several others. The airport was extensively renovated between 1958 and 1967, and it was a hub for the startup Midway Airlines in the 1980s. Its current terminal complex opened in 2001.

Midway is currently the main operations base of ATA Airlines (ATA), which started international flights from Midway to cities in Mexico and the Caribbean.



The original full-developed 1940s layout included 8 runways that crisscrossed the 8-block-by-8-block property. All terminals and hangars were on the square periphery. By the late 1970s the shorter north-south and east west runway pairs had been closed. 4 of the original runways remain, all significantly strengthened and enhanced, but essentially the same lengths as always. A short runway for light aircraft was added in 1989.

13R-31L: 3859'x60' For light aircraft only.

13L-31R: 5141'150' For general aviation & air taxi.

13C-31C: 6522'x150' Air Carrier runway, ILS equipped.

4L-22R: 5507'x150' For general aviation & air taxi

4R-22L: 6446'x150' Air Carrier runway, ILS equipped.

Because Midway is surrounded by buildings and other development, the landing thresholds of the runways are displaced to provide a proper obstacle clearance. While adequate and legal for the purposes used, these runways leave little margin for error. The FAA & airlines assure safety by limiting loads and adhering to adjusted weather minimums.


Concourse A

  • American Trans Air (Aruba, Boston, Cancun, Cozumel, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Ft. Myers, Grand Cayman, Guadalajara, Ixtapa, Las Vegas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montego Bay, New York/LaGuardia, Newark, Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco, San Juan, Sarasota, and Washington/Reagan)
  • Frontier Airlines (Denver)
  • Northwest Airlines (Detroit, Hartford (via Detroit), Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York/Kennedy (via Detroit), Pittsburgh (via Detroit), and Portland (OR) (via Minneapolis/St. Paul))
  • Southwest Airlines (Albuquerque, Baltimore/Washington, Birmingham, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Hartford/Springfield, Houston/Hobby, Indianapolis, Long Island/Islip, Jackson, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Manchester, Nashville, Louisville, Oakland, Orlando, Omaha, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, San Diego, St. Louis, Seattle/Tacoma, and Tampa)
  • Ted (Denver and Washington/Dulles)

Concourse B

Concourse C


Midway Airport is served by the Chicago Transit Authority's famous "L". Passengers can board Orange Line trains at a station in the airport terminal.

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