Chicago city approves $8.5bn plan to modernise Chicago O’Hare airport


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, city officials and airline partners have signed an $8.5bn agreement to modernise Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

The City of Chicago and representatives from United, American, Delta and Spirit airlines signed the agreement following an approval by the City Council.

The largest capital expansion in the airport’s history will be taken up under the use and lease agreement. The programme will be completed over the next eight years.

The O’Hare 21 terminal redevelopment programme is expected to create 60,000 construction jobs and tens of thousands of permanent jobs.

Besides increasing connectivity and reducing delays, the expansion plan will create 25% more gate capacity, modern security and technology, and infrastructure improvements.

Construction will commence in 2019 and by 2026, the Terminal Area Plan (TAP) will redevelop O’Hare’s existing terminals, including expanded gates and facilities at Terminal 5.

Terminal 2 will be redeveloped into a fully integrated O’Hare Global Terminal to serve international and domestic passengers. The plans include renovations and expanded concourses to Terminals 1 and 3.

Increased gates will improve airline performance, reduce flight delays, and expand travel options for customers.

Comprehensive security screening upgrade will enhance security and reduce wait times for passengers.

New self-service technologies will enable passengers to quickly check-in for their flight and a modern baggage system will streamline baggage connectivity.

A new international terminal, called the O’Hare Global Terminal, will improve customs and immigration processing.

The extension of Terminal 5 will integrate domestic and international airline operations at O’Hare, which is expected to help passengers to avoid long transfer times between Terminal 5 and the terminal core.

In addition, O’Hare will also become home to the first Global Alliance Hub in North America and one of only five in the world, where three international airline alliance partners operate within a single terminal facility, making connecting flights more seamless and convenient.

Through new contract provisions and participation in the Construction Advisory Committee, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) plans to build capacity across all O’Hare 21 projects so that MBE and WBE firms can participate.

The agreement will also establish a business arrangement to provide governance over airport operations for O’Hare’s 61 airline users.

The use and lease agreement will come into effect on 12 May 2018 after the expiry of the current 35-year-old lease.

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