Chicago Enters Historic $8.5 Billion Agreement to Transform Chicago O’Hare International Airport

O'Hare 21
Rendering of O’Hare Core Terminals — North East (Source: Fly Chicago)

City and airlines execute agreement to grow O’Hare’s terminals, creating tens of thousands of new jobs and steady long-term economic growth for the City and its residents

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—March 29, 2018

By: Rosemary Piser

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has joined airline and City officials yesterday at a signing ceremony to execute the historic $8.5 billion plan to modernize Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Following approval by the City Council, the City of Chicago and leadership from United, American, Delta and Spirit airlines entered into a new agreement to expand and elevate O’Hare to transform the airport into a modern, 21st century global gateway.

The new use and lease agreement between the City and its airline partners will launch the largest capital expansion of the airport’s history and will be developed over the next eight years. The O’Hare 21 terminal redevelopment program creates 60,000 construction jobs and tens of thousands of permanent jobs, spurring long-term economic growth and opportunities for the city.

At the announcement, Mayor Emanuel said, “The O’Hare transformation is a boarding pass to a brighter future for Chicago. We are creating tens of thousands of jobs across our city for years to come, injecting billions of dollars into our economy and positioning O’Hare as the gold standard for airports around the world. Even by the sky-high standards of a city famous for making no little plans, the O’Hare expansion is a big deal for Chicago’s future.”

In addition to increasing connectivity and reducing delays, the plan to expand O’Hare’s facilities will create 25 percent more gate capacity, new state-of-the-art security and technology, and a series of infrastructure improvements to increase airline performance and deliver a seamless experience to customers. The plans enable growth for the airport and its airline partners, and are expected to increase healthy competition for customers.

Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans said, “We are investing in capacity, technology, and modern facilities that will elevate the customer experience and significantly improve operational efficiencies with our historic $8.5 billion expansion plan so that O’Hare remains a top global hub and strong competitor in today’s growing commercial aviation sector. Working together with our airline partners, we will ensure O’Hare is positioned to grow and better serve its customers with new modern amenities, while providing a myriad of new opportunities for Chicagoans to participate in O’Hare’s growth and economic power.”

O’Hare 21 includes long-term redevelopment and expansion of the Airport’s terminal core. O’Hare’s first major terminal improvements in more than 25 years will begin with construction next year. By 2026, the Terminal Area Plan (TAP) will completely redevelop O’Hare’s existing terminals, with expanded gates and facilities at Terminal 5, the redevelopment of Terminal 2 into a new fully integrated O’Hare Global Terminal to serve international and domestic passengers, and renovations and expanded concourses to Terminals 1 and 3.

These changes will expand terminal capacity to drive a wide range of improvements to the overall passenger experience:

  • Increased gates will enhance airline performance, reduce flight delays, and expand travel
    options for customers;
  • New comprehensive security screening upgrades to enhanced security and further reduce
    wait times for passengers;
  • New self-service technologies will allow passengers to quickly check-in for their flight and
    drop-off their bags;
  • State-of-the-art baggage systems will streamline baggage connectivity;
  • Spacious concourse will provide concessions, departure lounges and public amenities

Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines said, “On behalf of the 15,000 United members who live, work and raise their families in the Chicago area, we fully support this ambitious plan for a future O’Hare that ensures the Second City has an airport second to none. As Chicago’s hometown airline, we commend the mayor and his team for reaching an agreement that ensures O’Hare gives Chicago a competitive edge long into the future and provides our great city the world-class airport it deserves.”

“Signing this lease today serves as a renewal of our commitment to serving the people of Chicago,” said Stephen Johnson, American Airlines Executive Vice President – Corporate Affairs. “We are thrilled to support this transformational agreement because it is what is best for the city of Chicago, our Chicago team members and our customers. We look forward to growing at O’Hare in the years to come.”

“Delta’s ties to the Chicago market go back to the early days of commercial aviation, more than 90 years ago,” said Wayne Aaron, Delta Airlines Senior Vice President of Properties and Facilities. We are excited about the opportunity to move to Terminal 5, where colocating with our Sky team Partners in a modern and spacious facility will improve our ability to connect passengers–making Chicago a more attractive destination for both Delta and SkyTeam flights in the future.”

“Spirit Airlines is committed to growing our operation at Chicago O’Hare, and this agreement will do just that,” said John Bendoraitis, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Spirit Airlines. “We are excited to move forward with the City of Chicago on this well-planned evolution that will make way for much needed competition in the market and ultimately provide more options and competitive pricing to travelers in Chicago and beyond.”

In addition to many construction jobs, O’Hare’s redevelopment is expected to spur creation of new permanent jobs for Cook County once the TAP is complete. The projected 60,000 additional annual jobs includes 35,000 permanent tourism-related jobs, and 25,000 new jobs for the airport, airlines, and supporting industries. With O’Hare 21 and TAP, the airport will contribute an additional $16 billion per year to the county economy, compared to today’s $39 billion, with new economic activity associated with jobs and resources needed to operate and supply a significantly larger terminal complex.

For additional information about O’Hare 21 and TAP, please visit the new website created to provide regular updates on the program, ORD21.com.

Source: www.cityofchicago.org