October 17, 2013

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Joins Senator Dick Durbin and Aviation Officials for Commissioning of New Runway 10C-28C at O'Hare International Airport

Opening Marks Completion of O’Hare Modernization Program Phase One; Runway Can Reduce Delays By 50%; Reinforces O’Hare as the Best Connected Airport in the World

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), elected officials, business leaders and airline representatives today for the commissioning of the newest runway built at O’Hare International Airport under the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), Runway 10C-28C. The new runway on O’Hare’s south airfield is the fourth major runway project completed on the OMP since 2008 and is the final component of OMP Phase One.

“I want to thank Transportation Secretary Foxx, former Transportation Secretary LaHood, U.S. Senators Durbin and Kirk and our airline partners for their leadership and support in prioritizing the investment for this critical improvement to Chicago’s global gateway, O’Hare International Airport,” said Mayor Emanuel. “O'Hare is one of our City's key economic engines and the opening of Runway 10C-28C will create thousands of quality jobs for Chicagoans, vastly increase the airport’s efficiency and capacity, and further solidify O’Hare as the best connected airport in the U.S. and around the world.” 

The opening of Runway 10C-28C comes on the heels of a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) citing O'Hare as the best connected airport, large or small, in the U.S. and in the world according to an Airport Connectivity Quality Index developed by the MIT International Center for Air Transportation. 

“The Obama Administration is committed to transportation investments like the O’Hare runway expansion that will enhance safety and help our economy grow.  The runway we are commissioning today is a perfect example, both through the jobs already created to build it and the jobs it will support by securing O’Hare’s place as one of the world’s busiest airports well into the future.  It is also a powerful reminder of what we can accomplish when industry and government work together – the kind of public private investment we need to tackle our biggest transportation needs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “Today’s announcement is great news for the city, great news for its residents and businesses, and great news for air travelers everywhere who will now move through the entire air system more safely and efficiently.”

At 10,800-feet in length and 200-feet in width, Runway 10C-28C is Chicago’s first Group VI capable runway, built to accommodate the largest aircraft that fly today, including the Boeing 747-8 and the A380. With the addition of Runway 10C-28C, O’Hare now has four east-west parallel runways. Air traffic will now primarily flow to and from the East and West. This orientation increases the airport’s maximum arrival and departure rates in all weather conditions. The addition of Runway 10C-28C can reduce delays by nearly 50 percent; and as demand grows, the new runway will allow for nearly 90,000 additional annual flights while still reducing flight delays.

“As one of the busiest airports in the world, O’Hare is a great asset to the Chicago metropolitan area and its economy.  Modernizing the airport will improve travel times and shipping efficiency  for travelers and businesses here and across the country.  This new runway represents an important step in that work, and I applaud Mayor Emanuel and Commissioner Andolino for their efforts to ensure O’Hare remains a vital 21st century transportation center,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

"The O'Hare Modernization Program is not just about meeting the current demands of the airport," Senator Kirk said.  "It also provides the framework to ensure O'Hare continues to grow and thrive as the region's economic engine for decades to come.  I'm proud to support Mayor Emanuel and the entire Chicago Department of Aviation team on this important milestone."

The opening of Runway 10C-28C is estimated to create $4 billion dollars in new economic activity annually and nearly 50,000 jobs.

“Today, we begin a new chapter for O’Hare as a more efficient, modernized airport of the future,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino.  “The opening of Runway 10C-28C is an historic event for Chicago, O’Hare and the O’Hare Modernization Program. We would not be here without the support of the Federal Aviation Administration, our airline partners United Airlines and American Airlines, elected officials, as well as many labor, business and civic leaders.”

Construction of Runway 10C-28C, which began in 2006, created 1,000 construction and professional services jobs each year during the project’s duration. To facilitate construction of Runway 10C-28C and another future runway, O’Hare’s south airfield and its immediate surroundings were completely transformed and improved. The work required the acquisition and demolition of 500 properties and completion of 19 different enabling projects including the relocation of the Union Pacific railroad; Irving Park Road; and two replacement cargo facilities for FedEx and United Airlines. The total cost to construct Runway 10C-28C, including the enabling projects, was approximately $1.3 billion dollars.

“The O’Hare Modernization Program will increase safety, expand operations and improve efficiency at this critical economic engine,” said Congressman Mike Quigley. “O’Hare’s new runway is a prime example of how important investments in Chicago area infrastructure will create new jobs and increase economic growth in the region. As the project moves forward, I’ll continue working with airport officials and community leaders to ensure the vitality of O’Hare and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

“Today’s event is the culmination of years of collaborative work between the City of Chicago and the FAA. As one of the nation's busiest airports and a major hub in the heartland of the United States, O’Hare Airport has a significant impact on the efficiency of air travel across the country. With this new runway, and the completion of extensive airspace and air traffic procedure changes, air travelers will see more on-time flights, especially in poor weather conditions, and annual flight delays will be decreased,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “I am so proud of the hundreds of FAA professionals that have worked for years on this project to ensure its success and to ensure the highest level of safety for the traveling public. I congratulate everyone involved in this effort.”

The OMP is currently the largest airport construction project in the U.S. The $8 billion program is transforming O’Hare’s airfield into a modern, parallel runway configuration with eight runways: six east-west parallel runways and two crosswind runways.  In addition to Runway 10C-28C, the other completed OMP projects to date include Runway 9L-27R, the North Air Traffic Control Tower and a 3,000 foot extension to O’Hare’s busiest runway, Runway 10L-28R.

While celebrating this milestone for the OMP today, construction is also underway on O’Hare’s next new Runway 10R-28L and an air traffic control tower on the south airfield, which will both be opened in 2015.

Once complete, the OMP will create up to 195,000 new jobs and add an additional $18 billion to our region’s economy.