September 24, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces O’Hare International Airport Reclaims Status As World’s Busiest Airport For Flight Operations

Comes on the Heels of Mayor Emanuel Welcoming Global Aviation Leaders at World Routes 2014

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that, for the first time since 2004, O’Hare International Airport has regained its status as the world’s busiest airport for flight operations. The announcement was made at the end of the World Routes 2014 convention, the largest and most prominent business-to-business aviation event where airlines and airports decide where to fly in the future, which was held at McCormick Place this week.

“O’Hare isn’t just the busiest airport in the world, it’s an asset for the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These new gains will help us attract new businesses and solidify our place as the best connected city in the U.S. and around the world.”

From January to August 2014, more than 580,000 flights departed or landed at O’Hare, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. In 2014, Chicago’s airports have experienced substantial growth in passenger activity, especially for international traffic. Through the first half of the year, international passenger volume is up eight percent at O’Hare (5.2 million passengers) and 15 percent at Midway (289,300).

This week the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and Choose Chicago are co-hosting the 20th World Route Development Forum, where a record 3,000 decision-makers from nearly 120 countries, 800 airports, 300airlines and 200 tourism authorities are meeting to discuss and negotiate new air service between cities.

The forum provides a tremendous opportunity for the CDA to capitalize on its efforts to pursue more international service to Chicago. During the four-day conference, Mayor Emanuel, CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino, Choose Chicago President Don Welsh and UBM Live Director Katie Bland visited with delegates from domestic and international airports, airline and tourism exhibitors who attended the forum.

“On behalf of Mayor Emanuel, we want to thank World Routes and the delegates that traveled from all corners of the world to visit Chicago,” said Commissioner Andolino. “Through the contacts made here, Chicago’s airports will continue to grow service and choices for travelers.”

This is only the second time in World Routes history that the Forum was held in the U.S., and Chicago was chosen to host because of its leadership in the aviation industry and excellent location with global and domestic flight accessibility.

In the last 18 months, O’Hare and Midway International Airports welcomed six new international airlines and added dozens of new destinations. Additionally, Chicago offers the best that America has to offer: world-renowned and state-of-the-art attractions, 25 Michelin-starred restaurants, Tony Award-winning theatre, luxury shopping and two world-class aviation hubs – O’Hare and Midway International Airports.