A new, $3 million U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, expected to boost international travel and business in the Northwest suburbs, opened Tuesday at Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling.
The 3,400-sqaure-foot facility will serve as a modern, private and secure site for customs officers to clear incoming aircraft and passengers, officials said.
"Investments like this new CPB facility make Chicago Executive the airport destination of choice for international travelers to and from downtown Chicago and the suburbs," said George Sakas, interim executive director of the airport.
The new facility comes as the airport is experiencing a record number of flights, and airport partners are building new hangars and hiring additional staff, Sakas said.
The facility sits on the site of a former hangar at the south end of the airport, which is co-owned by Wheeling and Prospect Heights.
"From its humble beginnings and dirt runways, the Chicago Executive Airport is now a critical 'reliever' airport for the Chicagoland area," said U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, whose 10th District includes CEA. "The airport's new customs facility will enable the airport to bring more international visitors, jobs and economic activity to the Tenth District and surrounding communities."
Both Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer and Wheeling Village President Pat Horcher praised the new facility.
"This new customs facility enhances the Chicago Executive Airport's value to our region and the state," Helmer said. "Corporate and private fliers will certainly enjoy the convenience offered by our full-service airport."