DuPage Airport Authority Mission Statement
To provide general aviation facilities and services to the suburban Chicago area, including corporate aviation service, recreational aviation, charter service, local commuter service and air cargo while fostering aviation related business on the field; and to develop and lease or sell surplus vacant land in a manner compatible with airport uses in order to generate significant long-term income which, along with increased aviation revenues, will stimulate the local economy; provide for the creation of jobs; bring outside revenues to local businesses; increase tax revenues for local communities; and reduce the airport’s reliance upon property tax levies until the airport operates profitably without using revenue from taxpayers.
DuPage Airport is located on what used to be sheep-grazing land. In 1927, two Chicago entrepreneurs purchased the land and began barnstorming, using the field as a grass strip. The U.S. Navy requisitioned DuPage Airport in 1941: built brick hangars, paved two runways in an ‘X’ pattern and began training pilots for the war effort. The airport was officially activated in March of 1943. Both the hangars and the original runway configuration still exist, though one runway is closed and is now taxiway C.
A year after the Navy began operations, Howard Aircraft Corporation opened a factory east of the airport. The company built more than 500 trainer, transport and air ambulance aircraft for the military. In 1946, with the war over, the Navy sold the airport to DuPage County for $1. The post-war boom saw a lot of regional growth and the airport reflected it by adding an east/west runway, a five-story control tower and making plans for further expansion.
In the late 1970s, DuPage Airport was designated a reliever airport for general aviation aircraft, and in the early 1980s, the airport authority began an expansion project to accommodate the increased traffic. Planners learned a lesson from the plight of the beleaguered, land-locked Midway Airport. Surrounded by houses, restaurants and other small businesses, Midway found itself unable to expand and neighbors filed an endless succession of noise complaints. DuPage County did not want to make the same mistake.
The airport grew from 900 acres in 1985 to 2,800 acres by 1992, with the goal of maintaining control of all the property surrounding the runways. Much of the land was acquired to provide a large buffer zone around the airport. Opened in 1993, DuPage Flight Center serves as the main terminal building where flight crews can take advantage of the 24/7 operation, including fueling, hangar leasing and rental, 24/7 FAA ATC, on-site U.S. Customs, car rental, on-site restaurant, crew lounge, exercise facility and concierge services. During the same period of time, the primary runway was extended to 7,570’, the longest in the Chicagoland area outside of O’Hare Airport.
In 1994, Prairie Landing Golf Club, a Scottish-links style course public golf club designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., opened, creating another source of revenue, a buffer and drainage area for airport land. The course was built using dirt taken from the construction of the 2 north/south runways. Prairie Landing is an award winning golf club, and includes a pro-shop, restaurant and banquet facility. During the summer of 2012, the secondary runway, 2R/20L, was extended 1,343 feet to a total length of 6,443 feet.
In fall 2013, a new ARFF (Airfield Rescue and Fire Fighting) station was completed on the northwest side of the airfield. Today, DuPage is an internationally recognized airport and premier aviation facility serving all general aviation users.
Historical Improvements in Airport Operations Brochure
Economic Impact Analysis
DuPage Airport Environmental Assessment for Airfield Improvements: Published December 2011
- Economic Impact Analysis (.pdf)
- DPA Environmental Assessment Responsible Official Page (.pdf)
- FONSI Notice (.pdf)
DuPage Airport is strategically located in the heart of Chicago’s western suburbs along the border of DuPage and Kane counties. These vibrant communities offer economic prosperity, outstanding education and business opportunities for people of all ages, superior recreational activities and a rich diversity of entertainment, civic organizations and cultural attractions.
Long known as one of the nation’s most affluent counties, DuPage County boasts a per capita income second only to Lake County, Illinois in the state, and is the 57th highest in the nation. With a population approaching one million people and over 690,000 jobs, DuPage County is the second most populous county in Illinois and historically one of the fastest growing.
The County’s business community is diverse, with major employers consisting of the manufacturing, retail, government, warehousing and distribution, and health care industries. A recent survey of manufacturing companies in DuPage revealed that the county’s location, low taxes, skilled workforce, and governmental services are the primary reason why companies choose to locate here. In the survey, companies stated that close proximity to Chicago O’Hare International Airport and the national highway system allows them to serve regional, national, and international markets easily.
Kane County is the seventh most populous county in the state and is home to 28 municipalities, each one unique in their own way. Its fast growing population is now over 500,000 which is projected to drastically increase by 275,000 new residents by 2030. Kane County employs more than 250,000 people.
While less developed than DuPage County, Kane boasts a strong employment base. Several of the major employers are in the health care industry. A large part of the economic base includes manufacturing and retail businesses. Kane County’s high quality of life, excellent school, and housing choices ranging from affordable to luxurious make Kane County a popular home for workers seeking relief from the congestion and costs of suburbs closer to downtown Chicago.
David Bird: Executive Director
Mark Doles: Director of Aviation Facilities and Properties, Director of DuPage Flight Center
Patrick Hoard: Director of Finance & Administration, Director of Prairie Landing Golf Club
Brian DeCoudres: Flight Center General Manager
Pamela Miller: Executive Assistant and Board Liaison