Chicago airport launches $8.5bn terminal expansion plan

The city of Chicago yesterday signed a deal with airlines for an $8.5bn plan to modernise the terminals of Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the airport’s biggest ever capital project.

Enabled by a new use and lease agreement between the city and airlines United, American, Delta and Spirit, the programme will revamp the airport’s four existing terminals (numbered 1, 2, 3 and 5), creating 60,000 construction jobs over eight years.
Terminal 2 will be demolished and turned into a new international terminal.

The upgrades will grow O’Hare’s overall terminal square footage by more than 60%, from 5.5 to 8.9 million square feet, according to the project website.

Called "O’Hare 21" the scheme is due to start construction next year.

The terminal programme follows the start of construction of a new runway, announced in 2016, and due for completion in 2020.

"The O’Hare transformation is a boarding pass to a brighter future for Chicago," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel (pictured).

The expansion plan, O’Hare’s first major terminal improvements in more than 25 years, will create 25% more gate capacity and faster security arrangements, the city said.

Image: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right, celebrating the deal on 28 March 2018 (Mayor’s office)

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