It seems that global cities across the world are running up against an unforeseen brake on their future growth - airport and airspace congestion.
Last Thursday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - a quasi-governmental body that operates, among other things, the three urban disasters we call Newark, LaGuardia and JFK Airports - announced a number of measures to relieve congestion. Read the full report) Alone, these three airports account for one-third of the nation's flight delays. According to the New York Times, which quotes the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M, the economic hit to the region is on the order of $7.4 billion annually.
Heathrow officially launched its bid to add a third runway last month. Here's what The Economist has to say about flying through Heathrow:
The experience is so miserable it even has its own name: the "Heathrow hassle". The world's busiest international airport is overcrowded, prone to delays and infuriatingly likely to lose your luggage. On November 14th City bigwigs told the chancellor, Alistair Darling, that subjecting travellers to such awfulness is bad for business. A poll for Intelligent Life, our sister quarterly, puts Heathrow wheels and undercarriage below all other airports for sheer misery.
Finally, O'Hare seems to be moving ahead with its long-overdue expansion, but it hasn't been easy. Los Angeles seems to be the only global city that's managing air congestion - but they've solved it the same way they solve everything in the Southland, through massive decentralization.