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updated: 9/27/2012 5:54 PM

Ryder Cup fans fill airspace over DuPage airport

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  • DuPage Airport in West Chicago is experiencing a big increase in air traffic, with fans jetting in to see the Ryder Cup.

       DuPage Airport in West Chicago is experiencing a big increase in air traffic, with fans jetting in to see the Ryder Cup.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

The busiest day of an already hectic week at DuPage Airport came Thursday when a steady stream of private jets carrying Ryder Cup fans and corporate sponsors began landing at the West Chicago airport.

Airport officials said they expect to stay busy on Friday because of the number of arrivals related to the international golf competition at Medinah Country Club.

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"We're not seeing the end of this yet," said David Bird, the executive director of the airport.

On a normal day, the airport sees a few dozen corporate flights. But because of its proximity to Medinah, the airport became a transportation hub when the country club hosted the PGA Championship in 1999 and 2006. During the tournament six years ago, many of the golfers passed through the airport.

Bird said he believes the airport is busier now than it was during the 2006 PGA Championship. However, officials won't know until later exactly how many planes used the airport because of the Ryder Cup.

In the meantime, a preliminary review of private aviation traffic related to the Ryder Cup shows that a number of flights are coming to DuPage.

Bird said most of the planes are carrying corporate sponsors from throughout the country. He said there are even some flights originating from Canada and Europe.

"It's very satisfying to see this level of traffic," Bird said. "We are definitely realizing our expectations."

The next flurry of activity will occur Sunday night after the tournament ends.

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