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nov 20 2008

Airports debut new runways today in Chicago, Seattle, and D.C.

Today, the first plane landed on Chicago O'Hare's new runway. It's expected to shorten delays. But fares won't come down soon. United and Delta, which control most of the gates at the airport, have apparently been blocking the sale of gates to rival airlines that might bring competition to fares. For example, Virgin America has been unable to buy gates, even though the FAA has given the airline approval to use the airport. In the meantime, fares at the airport have been rising, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

At Washington Dulles airport, a fourth runway opened today—the first since since 1962. But don't expect delays to disappear right away. The airport hasn't opened up a new path for the planes to move around the airport, so there is a chokepoint that still has to be fixed.

Later today in Seattle, a third runway debuts. It will improve safety for planes landing in cloudy weather, say authorities. No word yet on delays or potential fare drops.

The cost to taxpayers for the new runways at the three airports was $2 billion, which much of that money paid as the the passenger facility charge on airplane tickets.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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