Palwaukee Municipal Airport has a new name. The Wheeling, Ill. airport is now called Chicago Executive. Palwaukee started in 1925 and grew into “the most important reliever airport in the country,” according to the new chairman of the board, Kevin Dohm. A United Airlines pilot, Dohm pointed out that the airport is only eight miles from O’Hare and 20 miles from Chicago’s business district. “It’s location, location, location,” he said, “and we have it.” The name was changed, he said, “because we need to tell everyone who we are and where we are.”
Dohm noted that the field continued to grow through the 1940s, and in 1953 it was bought by the Priester family. In the Priester’s 33 years of ownership, the airport improved, adding a 5,000-foot hard-surface runway, while the FAA added VOR, ILS and a control tower. In 1986, the Priester family sold the field and it became a municipal airport. Additional land around the airport is being added to the complex.
The local community actually likes the airport and local politicians support it, said Dohm. Last year, it handled 160,000 operations. It has 300 based airplanes.