O’Hare Airport breaks ground on $1.2bn Terminal 5 expansion


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and airline officials broke ground on the first phase of a $1.2bn expansion of Terminal 5 at O’Hare International Airport.

Expansion of the 25-year-old Terminal 5 by 2021 will increase the total building area by 350,000ft², which will make way for new passenger amenities, airline lounges, concessions spaces and the capacity to serve more travellers.

Combined with later phases, the Terminal 5 expansion is expected to create nearly 3,500 jobs over the next decade.

The improvements are part of a series of ‘O’Hare 21’ expansion projects, following the opening of five new gates at Terminal 3’s Concourse L in May 2018.

The O’Hare expansion projects will increase gates and terminal area, integrate domestic and international operations at the terminal, increase Chicago’s global connectivity and create jobs.

By 2021, the Terminal 5 project will deliver: 25% expansion of aircraft parking space (10 new gates) to accommodate large aircraft and reduce gate delays; 75% increase in space for passenger amenities, including 15 new dining and retail locations; 70% expansion of premium lounge space, including a new Delta Sky Club; and expanded checkpoint with six new security lanes, and improved immigration facilities.

In addition, by 2022, the 25-year-old baggage handling system will be upgraded to include a new baggage ID.

Construction will be taken up in phases to minimise the impact on travellers, airlines and businesses operating in the terminal.

Upon completion of the new gates, Delta Air Lines will relocate to Terminal 5 from Terminal 2 to consolidate operations of Delta and its SkyTeam alliance partners and use a new Delta Sky Club lounge.

All United and American Airlines operations from Terminal 5, as well as their international partners, will relocate to the new O’Hare Global Terminal, expected to be completed in 2028.

Construction teams have broken ground on the new aircraft parking aprons, which will make way for the Terminal 5 extension and modernisation programme to be completed in two phases.

First, an expansion of the building will create new space between Gates M7 and M12 and beyond Gate M21.

This will be followed by a reconfiguration of space to add additional checkpoint lanes, expand baggage claim areas, reconfigure the immigration and customs facility, and provide flexible use capability for domestic and international flights.

Muller & Muller has designed the enhancements at Terminal 5.

A later phase will include additional roadway capacity, curbside enhancement and a new parking garage.

A new terminal-adjacent hotel is also planned, pending airline approval, to support the increased capacity and change of use of Terminal 5.


Image: An aerial view of the O’Hare International Airport terminal in Chicago, US. Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Department of Aviation / Flickr.

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