O’Hare, Midway International Airports Saw Strong Passenger Growth in 2023

March 6, 2024

Chicago’s Airports Welcomed Combined Total of More Than 95.9 Million Passengers in 2023, with Increases of 8.1% at O’Hare and 10.7% at Midway Compared to 2022


The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) released its annual passenger and operations data for 2023 today, showing strong and steady year-over-year growth at O’Hare and Midway International Airports, with an unprecedented level of air service on the horizon for summer 2024. Approximately 73.9 million passengers traveled through O’Hare last year, marking an 8.1% increase over 2022. Passenger figures at Midway continued their remarkable climb as well — the Southwest Side airport transported more than 22 million passengers in 2023, a 10.7% increase over the prior year.

“O’Hare and Midway International Airports act as the front door to the greatest city in the world for tens of millions of travelers each year, and the statistics released today demonstrate that Chicago’s airports are thriving and ready to continue their growth,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “I look forward to welcoming even more travelers to our world-class airports this year, and I invite them to explore all that our 77 community areas have to offer.”

“With passenger volumes at O’Hare and Midway continually on the upswing, it’s more important than ever that we continue to make improvements to enhance the passenger experience at Chicago’s airports,” CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee said. “From new concessions at Midway to terminal upgrades at O’Hare, the CDA is dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of the traveling public for decades to come. I also thank our airline partners for their commitment to the Chicago market that is so clearly demonstrated by the diversity and frequency of air service options planned for this summer.”

Midway, which surpassed pre-pandemic passenger levels in the first half of 2023, closed the full year out with a 5.5% increase in passengers compared to 2019. Sustained passenger growth continues at O’Hare, which ended 2023 at 87.3% of its 2019 passenger total, marking a four-year high.

O’Hare is expected to continue its robust passenger growth in 2024, with a strong summer travel season on the horizon, based on federal forecasts and advance schedules published by air carriers. The Terminal Area Forecast from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) projects 41.5 million enplanements at O’Hare for 2024 and 44.1 million for 2025, compared to 42.2 million enplanements recorded in 2019. Data released by the CDA today shows 36.6 million enplanements at O’Hare in 2023, up 7.3% over the prior year. Enplanements count departing passengers only, while overall passenger figures include both arrivals and departures.

Additionally, at the peak of the summer season in July 2024, scheduled departing seats from O’Hare are expected to be nearly equal to July 2019 levels, off by just 3%. O’Hare will also serve 67 international destinations this July, up from 65 in July 2019.

United Airlines plans to offer more than 175 routes to O’Hare this summer, more than any other airline —including 15 European routes, compared to nine in the summer of 2019. Published flight schedules from United also show positive trends in seat capacity for 2024 when compared to 2019 — up 3% in July, 4% in August and 1% in September, compared to the same months in 2019.

Notable air service developments at O’Hare this year include Cathay Pacific increasing its Hong Kong service from three to five times per week starting March 31 which will improve access to Hong Kong, Mainland China and Southeast Asia.

United will also launch the first service from O’Hare to the new airport in Tulum, Mexico on April 6, giving travelers a more convenient option when visiting the Riviera Maya.

O’Hare will also have its largest number of Italian destinations ever in 2024, with ITA launching service to Rome six times per week on April 7, and increasing to daily service in June. American Airlines will also launch daily summer seasonal service to Venice on June 5, while resuming summer seasonal service to Rome. United will also offer summer seasonal services to Rome and Milan.

Beginning on May 23, United will launch daily, summer seasonal service to Athens, Greece. American also offers summer seasonal service to Athens.

Service to Canada will also increase from carriers at O’Hare. United will launch new daily services to Winnipeg and Quebec City on May 23. WestJet will also offer significantly increased frequencies on its Calgary service from O’Hare this summer, operating daily between late June and August.

Finally, this spring, Frontier Airlines is also increasing its service with nine new routes at O’Hare while maintaining strong operations at Midway. In April and May, the carrier will launch new services from O’Hare to Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Denver; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Las Vegas; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Maine; Houston; and Philadelphia.