February 27, 2018

O'Hare Expansion Plan Generates Widespread Support from Labor, Business, Civic and Community Leaders

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Here’s what people are saying:

“O’Hare’s massive expansion will create thousands of good jobs for workers for many years to come. Projects of this type are particularly meaningful because of the robust multiplier they create within the economy. This significant investment in O’Hare will open up opportunities for construction workers across all trades, disciplines and experience levels as well as thousands of other airport-related jobs. We will continue to work closely with the Chicago Department of Aviation to ensure these opportunities are open and accessible."
—Jorge Ramirez, President, Chicago Federation of Labor

“The expansion of terminals at O’Hare ensures that Chicago and our region’s most important economic engine remains strong and competitive. This modernization solidifies a crucial economic asset and our global reputation as a modern nexus of transportation. It will help attract more corporate relocations. It will create jobs. All without taxpayer money. I congratulate Mayor Emanuel on his efforts. Bottom line: this is an investment that secures Chicago’s future as an economic powerhouse and a world-class place to live and work.”
—Jack Lavin, President & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

“We believe that all qualified construction businesses should have equal access to jobs in their industry. This plan creates paths to opportunity for thousands of Minority- and Woman-owned Business Enterprises across the Midwest. It's a win for businesses, the airlines and our local economy.”
—Jorge Perez, Executive Director, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association

“The O’Hare 21 project is expected to have an economic impact on the region of at least $50 billion, creating nearly half a million jobs over the next several years. The Business Leadership Council strongly supports this project and has high expectations that African Americans will be significantly included in the financing, architectural design, environmental engineering, construction, IT and other key roles that add value to its success. The plans for O’Hare 21 uniquely provide contracting and workforce development opportunities that raise the bar of inclusion for African Americans in the Chicago community, especially the underrepresented talent on the South and West sides, in a way that truly reflects the diverse tapestry of Chicago’s people and makes us all proud.”
—Frank Clark, President of the Business Leadership Council

“The Civic Committee has been a longstanding proponent of a strong, modern O’Hare Airport. O’Hare is the economic engine for the Chicago region generating billions in economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs. As cities in the world compete, modern, efficient air transportation hubs are critical components of the new economy and can give a city a competitive edge in attracting talent, businesses, and jobs. O’Hare, like its competitors, must be updated to reflect changes in usage and services. The O’Hare Modernization Program enhanced the capacity and functionality of O’Hare’s runways. This new proposal boldly addresses the needs of the 21st century airport – integration of international flights, a larger and more efficient gate system, and updated amenities and facilities -- in a way that will insure Chicago’s continued preeminence as North America’s transportation hub.”
—Kelly R. Welsh, President, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago

“A connected O’Hare is critical to Chicago’s continuous economic and business development, which is why we are proud to support this major expansion plan for the airport. The City and those who do business here rely on a highly connected airport to support continued growth opportunities. An expansion of this size will generate economic and social impact beyond the airport and unlock new opportunities for Chicago based businesses and those who do business in our city.”
—Ana Dutra, President & CEO, Executives’ Club of Chicago

“The National Organization of Minority Engineers is a proud partner of the Chicago Department of Aviation and is excited about the most expansive modernization plans in O’Hare International Airport’s history. This capital plan will have an enormous impact on economic development. The CDA’s significant commitment to MBE and WBE goals will provide a vast number of jobs for the communities and will provide minority and women owned engineering and construction firms contract opportunities.”
—Diana Harrington, Executive Director, National Organization of Minority Engineers

“Other airports will be looking at what Chicago is able to accomplish, because if you’re a large airport hub and you want to grow your international traffic, you want to work with your airlines to make sure the customer experience is a great one. So, when I see a project like this going off at O’Hare, it is good for the entire U.S. airport system.”
—Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, Airports Council International - North America

“A global city needs a global airport, and the plan to transform O’Hare will make it one of the greatest airports in the world – not just for tourists and business travelers, but for the millions of Chicagoans who stand to benefit from the growth of Chicago as a global megacity. I fully support this game-changing investment in Chicago’s future, as we continue our work of keeping Chicago’s voice at the forefront of world affairs.”
—Ivo H. Daalder, President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

“Chicago has the most exciting restaurant scene in the world, with phenomenal new venues opening every day – and now we will have the best airport in the world. The Mayor’s plan to modernize O’Hare, expand traffic and improve the passenger experience will pay enormous dividends for Chicago’s world class restauranteurs and the tens of thousands of Chicagoans who are employed in our outstanding restaurant industry.”
—Sam Toia, President & CEO, IL Restaurant Association

“Chicago is a world-class destination, and this airport plan will make it so much easier for millions of travelers to get to Chicago, and enjoy their experience on the way. Visitors want a great place to stay, an unforgettable experience in a beautiful city and efficient, high quality travel – and with this $8.5 billion investment, Chicago will have all three. Thousands of Chicagoans in the hotel and lodging industry will have more job security and growth thanks to this investment in the future of our City’s economic engine.”
—Marc J. Gordon, President & CEO, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA)

"The Chicago Loop was recently ranked #7 in the Ernst & Young, Urban Land Institute study of the attractiveness of global business districts. One big reason – O’Hare airport. The O’Hare airport expansion will provide even better proximity to global markets and access to international clients, making the Loop an even more competitive business district, and the entire city an even better location for people and investment."
—Michael Edwards, President & CEO, Chicago Loop Alliance

“As a world-class city, we need to have world-class airports. One of the keys to Chicago’s competitiveness for conventions, meetings, and tourists is O’Hare International Airport. With approximately 90% of our visitors to McCormick Square coming from out-of-town, the expansion of O’Hare is important to our long-term economic success. MPEA supports the proposed plan because it is smart for Chicago and positions us to continue to be competitive in the future.”
—Lori T. Healey, CEO, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA)

“The growth of metropolitan Chicago is intertwined with our role as a transportation crossroads — from waterways to railways to airports — all of which require a proactive commitment to planning and investment. O’Hare International Airport has been pivotal to our evolution from a Midwest hub to a global powerhouse. Our growth as an international destination for businesses, immigrants, investors, and tourists alike will be unleashed through this overdue terminal modernization plan.”
—MarySue Barrett, President, Metropolitan Planning Council

“While Chicago is seeing record numbers of tourists there remains a tremendous opportunity to tap greater into the incredible potential of overseas arrivals to Chicago. Welcoming a greater share of global travelers is directly correlated to Mayor Emanuel’s once-in-a-generation plan to transform O’Hare. When visitors come to Chicago, they already feel right at home – and now the gateway to the City can be a welcome mat to the world.”
—David Whitaker, President & CEO, Choose Chicago

"From our airports and transit systems to our data centers and smart technology, Chicago is the hub of a global network. An efficient, expanded and modernized O’Hare Airport will only strengthen our how Chicago connects to the world and how we bring the world to Chicago. This much-needed expansion project will also create thousands of quality jobs for people in the Chicago area, boosting their purchasing power and driving economic growth in our neighborhoods."
—Andrea Zopp, President and CEO, World Business Chicago

“This assures Chicago will remain a premier hub in the U.S. This protects that position, and it’s not just about it being a point of pride for Chicago — it really needed to be done. The city, the passengers flying to and through O’Hare and the airlines serving the airport all deserve a lot better, and they’re going to get it.”
—Henry Harteveldt, President of Atmosphere Research Group and travel industry analyst

“As a global hub airport, this is where you need to be. Bringing international gates closer and making them more convenient will be important in making the airline more competitive.”
—Seth Lehman, Fitch Ratings analyst for U.S. airports

“...the $8.5 billion mega-deal Mayor Rahm Emanuel is negotiating with United and American and other airlines to overhaul and expand O’Hare is crucial. Either O’Hare will drive jobs to Chicago, or drive them away. Chicago, a global city, needs a globally competitive airport. O’Hare will be a bigger, better airport because of this modernization plan, and that will make Chicago a bigger, better city in which to live and do business.”
—Chicago Tribune Editorial Board