Mayor Rahm Emanuel is announcing that the city of Chicago and its airline partners are working together to design and develop a multi-billion dollar capital investment program at O’Hare International Airport that expands Terminal 5, redevelops Terminal 2, creates space for new gates, and support tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunities in Chicago. These initiatives serve as the next step in Mayor Emanuel’s O’Hare 21 vision for the airport. The planning process is expected to be completed next year.
The first step of this program calls for expanding Terminal 5 by 25 percent to provide up to nine additional gates, which is underway. This represents the first expansion of Terminal 5 since it opened 23 years ago. With more gates, airlines will have the ability to offer more flights to more destinations with increased frequency. This investment – estimated at approximately $300 million and funded without any local taxpayer dollars – will support approximately 1,100 total jobs.
The program also currently envisions redeveloping Terminal 2 into a new central terminal within the existing terminal complex. The City is working with the airlines to improve the passenger experience at O’Hare by accommodating additional international flights, which would solidify O’Hare’s role as an international gateway and strengthen the airport’s connectivity, capacity, and efficiency. With a new terminal at the center of the airport, arriving passengers will be able to exit the airport faster and connect to other flights with greater ease.
Amenities in the new terminal could include a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, a departure hall with additional space for TSA passenger screening, concessions, and passenger amenities. In addition to the new central terminal, the planning contemplates new concourses to be constructed to the west as airline passenger demand dictates. The City and the airlines continue to evaluate the best alternatives for accommodating growth, and the program will evolve through further planning and negotiations.
“This is an important step forward in our ongoing work to ensure that O’Hare serves as the economic engine for the people of Chicago and an international gateway for travelers around the world,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “From adding more gates and improving the international terminal to constructing the most efficient runway system in the country, we are ensuring that O’Hare continues to be an economic driver for the city of Chicago long into the future. I want to thank our airline partners for recognizing the valuable role of O’Hare airport, and working with the city on building a better Chicago.”
In developing these projects, and as part of all O’Hare 21 projects, the city will work to ensure that significant local workforce participation among minority and women-owned businesses is a priority. The CDA will require all contractors who bid on this project to participate in outreach events designed to ensure access to jobs for Chicago’s underserved communities. More information about these projects and contracting goals will be available at the Chicago Department of Aviation’s Contractor Open House/Industry Day to be held on July 22, 2016.
Today’s announcement serves as the next step in O’Hare 21, a collaborative partnership with federal, state and local agencies, airline partners, as well as representatives from organized labor, and other business groups, and it complements ongoing capital improvements already taking place at the airport. The City and airlines will continue to evaluate the best approach for accommodating growth, and this program will evolve through further planning and negotiations. This process is expected to be completed next year.
An earlier phase of O’Hare 21, announced in June 2016, includes the arrival of three hotel development projects at O’Hare, which will more than double the current hotel capacity at the airport. With the construction of two new hotels and the modernization of the existing O’Hare Hilton, this multi-million dollar investment – which will not use local taxpayer dollars – will support more than 1,250 jobs and generate millions of dollars in economic activity for the city of Chicago.
“The Terminal 5 investment announced today and the other airport projects under consideration by the City and the airlines will expand and modernize O’Hare and lead to a safer, more efficient experience for O’Hare passengers, while bringing thousands of jobs and billions in economic opportunity to the region,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “If we want to be competitive in the world economy, we need the infrastructure to support it. I will continue to prioritize federal investments that will further solidify O’Hare’s position as a vital 21st century transportation hub.”
"As one of the busiest airports in the world, the continued modernization of O’Hare will bolster Chicago as a vital international transportation hub," said Senator Kirk. “These innovations, coupled with infrastructure upgrades like Elgin O'Hare Western Access, are an investment in Illinois’ economy, helping attract businesses and creating jobs in Northern Illinois, while improving the travel experience for all passengers to and from Chicago.”
"As Chicago’s hometown airline, we are committed to building a stronger, more vibrant O’Hare that will help elevate the travel experience for our customers,” said Oscar Munoz, United’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We support the city’s effort to expand Terminal 5 and will continue working with our partners to develop the long term vision for O’Hare.”
“As the world's largest airline, we recognize that this is an important step in the development of O'Hare into a first-class, 21st century airport so that it remains an integral part of our global network,” said American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Over the next 18 months, before the expiration of our current lease, American Airlines will continue to work with the City of Chicago to propel the customer experience at O'Hare into the future.”
“In order to grow, innovate and continue to provide excellent service in a dynamic global aviation system, O’Hare needs to significantly expand and modernize,” said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans. “Working with our airline partners we are developing the best path forward to address the needs of the future and ensure Chicago remains a global leader.”
“This is another project that Mayor Emanuel has worked very hard to achieve, and I want to thank him for continuing to fight for jobs on behalf of Chicagoans,” said Ralph Affrunti, President of the Chicago Building Trades Council. “This program not only solidifies Chicago as a world-class city, it also creates jobs that will pay a living wage and provide benefits for years to come. We applaud the Mayor’s vision in making sure that Chicago remains the Midwest’s largest transportation hub.”
Today’s announcement also complements other initiatives at the airport that are aimed at modernizing it for the 21st century. In January, the Mayor announced a historic $1.3 billion investment that includes a new runway (Runway 9C/27C), deicing pads and other critical airfield projects at O’Hare that will allow for additional gates and terminal improvements. It also follows an announcement in February by Mayor Emanuel and American Airlines to add five new gates at O’Hare by 2018, creating the first major gate expansion since 1993. Additional gates will increase capacity at the airport, provide significant economic benefit to the city of Chicago, and improve airline performance.