CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced O’Hare International Airport (ORD) has been named the best connected U.S. airport in the nation for 2018, and a leading international hub second only to London’s Heathrow. According to the latest report by OAG, the global authority on air service information, the 2018 Megahubs U.S. Index finds O’Hare at number one in the country for domestic connections, outpacing other major U.S. hubs in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York for best flight connectivity. OAG also found that Chicago benefits from additional connectivity at Midway International Airport, which ranks 17th on its list in 2018.
“The City of Chicago is home to the most connected airport in the country and one of the most connected airport systems in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “No other U.S. city provides nonstop service to six major regions of the globe, and today’s report by OAG is evidence that the City and our airline partners are making the right investments today to ensure Chicago-O’Hare will remains connected and competitive for the future.”
OAG’s reports attribute O’Hare’s place at the top of the rankings based on the number of connections possible relative to peak travel times. ORD’s ranking reflects the airport’s breadth of destinations—both domestic and international—and frequency of services offered to passengers throughout the day.
Adding a boost to Chicago’s global connectivity ratings is O’Hare’s fast-expanding portfolio of air services, with over 50 new routes added, including 17 new international routes announced or launched this year. This growing service is linking Chicago to new regions of the world for the first time, including Africa and New Zealand, and has elevated Chicago as the only city in the U.S. providing nonstop services to all six major inhabited regions of the world.
“We are pleased that OAG has found Chicago-O’Hare the most connected US hub., acknowledging the efforts by the City and our airline partners to offer our travelers access to one of the most connected, convenient gateways in the world,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “Looking ahead, our O’Hare 21 program will increase capacity as well as improving the connecting experience for travelers, bringing more economic opportunity to the City of Chicago.”
Chicago’s connectivity is expected to continue to rise in the years ahead, supported by the recently launched O’Hare terminal expansion program. This program will deliver a significant increase in terminal capacity and gates, allowing the airport to grow alongside its airline partners and to position O’Hare to handle growing industry demand.
“Chicago-O’Hare is one of the true Megahubs in the world, and it will continue to play a crucial role in the growing worldwide aviation system as it prepares to grow capacity in the next few years,” said Phil Callow, CEO of OAG. “New runways, continual infrastructure improvements, new airline services and enhanced connectivity are delivering an envious market position for both the City of Chicago and its travelers.”
The connectivity data analyzed by OAG goes beyond the size of an airport’s route network and measures the number of connection possible within a specific time frame and the relative attractiveness of each airport as a connecting point for scheduled domestic air passengers. For more insights from the Megahubs U.S. Index or the Megahubs International Index, released today, download the full reports here.
While increasing connectivity for the airport generates additional travel options for customers, it also generates a substantial economic impact for the city with each new or expanded route added at O’Hare. New air services added for Chicago’s airports since 2011 have had an estimated $3 billion impact to the Chicago region’s economy. Growing these services, has also led passenger volume records for the last three years, and more than 100 million passengers travelling through Chicago’s airports today.
The biggest capital program in O’Hare’s history will completely transform the airport with investments to build a new global terminal, a significant expansion to gates and overall terminal capacity, and new amenities and technology throughout every concourse. These investments will make flying to or through Chicago faster, more convenient, and efficient for tens of millions of travelers around the world each year, and will grow tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunity to support the City and its future.