High Hopes for O'Hare

July 18, 2016

Plans to update O'Hare Airport are afoot with hopes of making the international transportation hub easier to navigate.

Up to nine gates will be added to Terminal 5 which serves many international airlines.  Plans are to have the gates open by 2019. The $300 million cost will be paid for with existing passenger facility charges.

Still in the planning and funding phase is the much needed redevelopment of Terminal 2. The airlines are supportive of the terminal's updates but sources say it will take another 18 months to pull together a firm agreement. Demolition and reconstruction of Terminal 2 would cost billions. Chicago Mayor Emanuel said those billions will not include taxpayer dollars and that the building costs would be passed on to airline customers.

The project will use federal, state and local dollars, as well as money from airlines and other business partners to “complement ongoing capital improvements already taking place,” the mayor’s office said. “This multi-million dollar investment – which will not use local taxpayer dollars – will support more than 1,250 jobs and generate millions of dollars in economic activity for the city.”

The Terminal 2 wish list includes a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, a departure hall with more space for TSA passenger screening, and concourse expansions. Down the road, plans include a sixth runway, taxiways, de-icing pads and two new hotels.

Last year, O'Hare served 76,949,504 passengers, 875,136 aircraft, and 1,742,500.0 tons of cargo.