The FAA has approved a major upgrade at Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Having served more than 54 million passengers last year, Chicago O’Hare International Airport consistently ranked among the top five busiest airports in the world. And it looks like the airport is about to get even busier now that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the green light to a massive expansion project.

A multi-billion dollar project

The approval for the O’Hare expansion was announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Nov. 21 in Terminal 2, along with Mayor Laurie Lightfoot and other dignitaries. Support came later FAA successfully completed a four-year environmental study that paves the way for the project and has been deemed to have a reasonable environmental impact.


With the green light, the expansion project, known as the Terminal Area Plan, will see O’Hare get new terminals, gates, hotels and general development toward the west side of the entire airport, all at an estimated $12 billion. . The hefty price tag has already increased from initial estimates, so it goes without saying just how massive it is expansion will be

The first few phases of the Terminal Area Plan will include the construction of two new satellite concourses to double the size of the existing fees, which are currently scheduled for completion in 2027 and 2028, respectively. Lightfoot dropped a few hints when he said:

“The project is expected to begin with two new satellite concourses that will provide approximately 1.3 million square feet of gate and amenity space, dramatically expanding the airport’s ability to accommodate aircraft of all sizes. This is very important to us.”

All flights in one terminal

While the first two stages of Terminal The site plan already seems huge, but it’s about to get bigger as the project includes a major centerpiece called the Global Terminal. The centerpiece is to demolish the existing Terminal 2 and replace it with “global terminal” infrastructure.

As the name suggests, the new terminal will be relatively unique as it will be the only infrastructure to accommodate both domestic and international flights together. Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee emphasized:

“When it opens, O’Hare Global Terminal will be one of the most transformative terminal investments in the Americas, more than doubling the space of the existing Terminal 2 and enabling the integration of international and domestic operations for our hub carriers. United and American Airlines.”

With the global terminal, O’Hare would become the first “global alliance hub” in the US, as the new terminal will see internal and international carriers that cooperate together to be in the same terminal. In addition, passengers transferring to international flights no longer have to take the People Mover to Terminal 5, which is now known as the International Terminal.

In addition, two new satellite concourses from the initial stages will be connected to the Global Terminal via a tunnel, with construction scheduled to begin in 2024 and be completed in 2030. With the connecting tunnel, the Global Terminal will not be completely isolated from the rest of O’Hare’s infrastructure, and passenger traffic will not be disrupted.

Demolition of Terminal 2 is scheduled to begin sometime in 2026, and the Global Terminal is expected to be completed in 2030. This centerpiece of the project is being developed by a team that includes renowned Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, who described the design of the Global Terminal as follows:

“The three-sided structure, which smoothly curves for efficiency, orientation and connectivity, integrates the terminal and the concourse into a single building, uniquely reminiscent of the city of Chicago. At the confluence of the branches, a dramatic Oculus welcomes visitors under a hexagonal glass skylight, the geometry of which references the Chicago flag.”

O’Hara gets a new entrance

As gorgeous as any expansion element has been so far, the terminal site plan is not yet finished, as O’Hare will also get a new entrance on the west side that will connect to Route 390 and I-490. Both toll roads are currently under construction and are scheduled to be completed sometime in 2025.

However, there is a slight twist as the entrance may not initially be for the public, but more for employees, as the new entrance includes an eight-story employee car park and a shuttle box to the various terminals. The lack of plans for public use at this time is because the Chicago Department of Aviation is still working with the state on the logistics of the west entrance.

What do you think of the O’Hare expansion project? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Daily Herald

  • Government support for US airlines

    Chicago O’Hare International Airport

    IATA/ICAO code:

    General Director:
    Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Jamie Rhee

    4L/22R – 2286 m (7500 ft) | 4R/22L – 2461 m (8075 ft) | 9L/27R – 2,286 m (7,500 ft) | 9C/27C – 3,428 m (11,245 ft) | 9R/27L – 2,428 m (7,967 ft) |10L/28R – 3,962 m (13,000 ft) |10C/28C – 3,292 m (10,801 ft) |10R/28L – 2,286 m (7,500 ft)

    American Airlines, United Airlines

    United States

    Number of passengers:
    54 020 339 (2021)

    Terminal 1 | Terminal 2 | Terminal 3 | Terminal 5

https://simpleflying.com/faa-approves-major-modernization-chicago-o-hare/ The FAA has approved a major upgrade at Chicago O’Hare International Airport

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