Looking Fly

City of Chicago announces major improvements for O’Hare Airport

Midwest Transportation
(Courtesy Magnus Manske/Wikimedia Commons)
(Courtesy Magnus Manske/Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Chicago has announced a plan to remodel and expand portions of O’Hare International Airport. Part of a multi-billion capital investment program, the plan calls for a 25% expansion of Terminal 5 and a major redevelopment of Terminal 2. O’Hare is one of the busiest airports in the world, and has recently been plague with delays related to TSA passenger screening.

The redevelopment of Terminal 2 would add updated amenities to the centrally located terminal, making it a hub for the entire airport. A new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility as well as additional TSA screening areas would be major additions to the Terminal. New concessions, passenger amenities, and a new concourse are also part of the initial plan.

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O’Hares International Terminal 5 has seen few updates since it opened 23 years ago. (Courtesy Magnus Manske/Wikimedia Commons)

The proposed improvements are part of the city’s O’hare 21 initiative to improve the airport as an international gateway. Mayor Rahm Emanuel commented, “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.” O’Hare 21 is a collaboration between the federal, state, and city agencies, the airport, multiple airlines, and organized business and labor groups. O’Hare 21 also outlines workforce guidelines for the redevelopment, with a focus on local, minority, and women-owned businesses given priority.

Though the announcement did not specify details, the redevelopment is planned to be completed without the help of taxpayer dollars. The planning process for the Terminal 5 and 2 projects is expected to last into 2017. O’Hare is also in the process of adding three new hotels, a new runway, additional gates, and other necessary airfield projects, all under the O’Hare 21 initiative.

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