Philadelphia airport enlargement approved

Jan. 5, 2011 at 9:42 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The FAA has given the final go-ahead to a major expansion of Philadelphia airport, including an additional runway.

The $5.2 billion project, to be finished in 2025, is intended to cut frequent delays and handle growth for the next 50 years, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

After years of planning and environmental review, the Federal Aviation Administration posted a "record of decision" Tuesday.

The airport will extend two runways and build a fifth runway along the Delaware River, a new commuter terminal, an automated people-mover, a ground-transportation hub for rental cars and more gates and parking. Seventy-two houses are to be acquired by the city and demolished.

Travelers will get the "comforts and amenities they find at other airports today, and the ability to move in and out of Philadelphia more efficiently," airport chief executive Mark Gale said.

The airport has little room to grow, being squeezed among rivers, highways and the Tinicum National Wildlife Refuge.

In 2009, Philadelphia International handled 472,668 takeoffs and landings and about 30 million passengers. It is the ninth-busiest U.S. airport but the seventh-most delayed.

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