Escape the Holiday Crowds by Flying Through the Bullshit Gary/Chicago International Airport!

Via Jack Shafer comes news of a federally funded boondoggle that makes the three-flights-a-day John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport look like a busy transportation hub:

[The Gary, Indiana-Chicago International Airport] has only one passenger flight -- Allegiant Airlines Flight 650. It flies nonstop from Sanford, Fla., to Gary, where passengers unload and new passengers board. Allegiant changes the flight number to 651, and the plane takes off and heads back to Sanford.

It’s time on the ground in Gary: Usually less than one hour.

Once the flight is gone, the terminal is shut down and locked up for several days. The Allegiant flight only comes to Gary twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays. That’s it.

The annual cost to keep the joint open comes to around $3 million, which is sucked out of your pocket via federal ticket fees. The good folks at NBCChicago.com note that tens of millions more are being spent on runway upgrades and other capital projects.

Read the whole thing and watch a great video clip here.

Incidentally, if you go to Allegiant's website, the fares are astoundingly low. I quickly priced a non-stop round-trip ticket leaving Gary on Thursday, December 6 and returning Sunday, December 9. The price was around a whopping $125 for the whole trip. The same trip leaving from Chicago's O'Hare and flying into either Orlando or Daytona Beach (the closest I could get and 20 to 30 miles away) ran between twice and four times as much.

More on airport boondoggles and the sad role played by outdated federal mandates that really need to be scrapped.

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  • cw||

    OT: The Economist is endorsing B.O. Again.

  • Question of Auban||

    The magazine? Is there a link to their convoluted lack of logic?

  • cw||

    http://www.economist.com/news/.....-which-one

    They could, you know, endorse Gary Johnson. But then they'd have to ignore their neocon tendencies.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Newsflash: The Economist is staffed by a bunch of self-unaware Brits.

  • cw||

    I know. But a purportedly free-market "newspaper" should endorse someone other than the statist in the White House.

  • RBS||

    Eh, they are more "the smartest/most important people in the world read us."

  • wef||

    The Apologist

    the power-worshiping lackeys at that magazine are why god invented the guillotine

  • CE||

    Unlike the NYT, which is more "we are the smartest/most important people in the world, so you should willingly pay for the privilege of reading us, and observe time-honored and now-pointless traditions like getting five pounds of stinky paper delivered to your house every Sunday."

  • Ryan60657||

    "a purportedly free-market "newspaper" should endorse someone other than the statist in the White House."

    Who, the statist NOT in the White House but who has been running to get into the White House for the past ten years?

  • ||

    Uh oh... Alt text is gonna get someone upset for the improper usage of "begging the question".

  • $park¥||

    You'd think that the editor of a magazine called reason would know the proper usage.

  • RBS||

    Woohoo! Getting the weekend started early!

  • Question of Auban||

    I have long dreamed of wintering in Gary, Indiana. I now know there is an inexpensive way to get there!

  • db||

    Yeah, from Florida, that desert of winter desolation.

  • db||

    I'd be curious to read about the general aviation traffic at the airport, if any. The feds are slowly moving to strangle general aviation. The big thing the AOPA has been complaining about is per flight fees for GA aircraft to fly in controlled airspace. The FAA has been pushing for a $100 per f light fee. Of course, they say the smallest aircraft would be exempt at first.

    From a libertarian perspective, pilots or flight operators should be paying for services rendered by an air traffic control system. Unfortunately, because the ATC system is run by the federal government it is extremely inefficient and costly, to the point that the smallest operators would be driven out of business and recreational and private flying in the U.S. would disappear if they had to pay a fair share of the costs of the overly expensive system we have now.

    It's also a creeping example of class war for the congresscritters to say they authorized higher fees on ft cats who own planes. Never mind that most of the largest costs of owning a plane are a direct result of heavy handed federal interference in aviation.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It flies nonstop from Sanford, Fla., to Gary, where passengers unload and new passengers board. Allegiant changes the flight number to 651, and the plane takes off and heads back to Sanford."

    "international airport"

    I do not think it means what they think it means.

  • John Thacker||

    Of course, McCain sponsored an amendment to end the Essential Air Service program that subsidizes rural airports. So we know that most libertarians don't really consider it that important an issue.

    What's more annoying is that the Senate basically agreed (voted 34-65 NOT to table) Tom Coburn's amendment to limit EAS when debating a Senate version of FAA authorization, but then Feinstein and Reid refused to consider the amendment when voting on a compromise bill to reconcile with the House. And the media portrayed it as Coburn being obstructionist when he just wanted his amendment that nearly two-thirds of the Senate had supported to be considered!

  • ||

    Curious as to why the cheaper fares don't prompt more people to fly through Gary, then. If it's so cheap how come more airlines don't schedule flights through there? You'd think there would be sufficient demand, or is Chicago just not enough of a bottleneck?

  • Ryan60657||

    There is no good way to get from Gary to downtown Chicago. Of course, this challenge is the genesis for several proposals to spend tens of millions in taxpayer dollars to build a rail line from the Gary airport to downtown Chicago...

  • Pagan Priestess||

    Are you being sarcastic? There's already a passenger rail line from the Gary airport to downtown Chicago...the venerable South Shore Line runs from South Bend to downtown Chicago every day.

  • Ryan60657||

    Be thankful for small blessings. If Rep Jesse Jackson Jr. has his way, taxpayers would be paying tens of billions to build a fourth Chicago airport, 60 miles south of the city in Peotone, IL. In my opinion, better to spend $3 million a year, than to spend billions now and tens of millions annually for an airport nobody (except for Rep. JJJ) wants, and the area doesn't need.

  • CE||

    We need more airport freedom. Let Southwest (or some other big company) develop small private airports in convenient locations, handle their own security, and end all this talk about "high speed light rail" federal boondoggles as the way to move about the country.

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