CDA celebrates the groundbreaking on a $1.2 billion expansion of O’Hare International Airport Terminal 5

CHICAGO, IL, 2019-Mar-22 — /Travel PR News/ — Mayor Rahm Emanuel today (03/20/2019) joined the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and airline officials at O’Hare International Airport for a groundbreaking on the first phase of a $1.2 billion expansion of Terminal 5. By 2021, the expansion of 25-year-old Terminal 5 will increase total building area by approximately 350,000 square feet, making way for new passenger amenities, airline lounges, concessions spaces and the capacity to serve more travelers more comfortably. Combined with later phases, the Terminal 5 expansion will create an estimated 3,500 jobs over the next decade.

“Chicago and its airline partners are propelling the nation’s best-connected travel hub to the next level, starting with a more than $1 billion infusion that will bring new gates and expanded amenities to Terminal 5,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With the improvements we are making today, O’Hare will continue to set new records and fuel more connectivity, tourism, and economic impact for the City well into the future.”

These improvements represent the first in a series of O’Hare 21 expansion projects, following the opening of 5 new gates at Terminal 3’s Concourse L last May. Overall, the O’Hare expansion will increase gates and terminal area, better integrate domestic and international operations at the terminal, and increase Chicago’s leading global connectivity—while creating tens of thousands of jobs for the community.

“Thanks to our airline partners’ commitment to Chicago, we are offering increased connections, better services, and more reasons for travelers to choose O’Hare than ever before,” said Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “Through our modernization programs, Chicago-O’Hare will continue breaking records by improving service for travelers from curb to gate, and powering new economic opportunity at historic levels.”

The Terminal 5 project will deliver the following improvements by 2021:

  • A 25 percent expansion of aircraft parking space (10 new gates) to better accommodate large aircraft and reduce gate delays
  • A 75 percent increase in space dedicated to passenger amenities, including 15 new dining and retail locations
  • A 70 percent expansion of premium lounge space, including a new Delta Sky Club
  • An expanded checkpoint with six new security lanes, and improved immigration facilities

In addition, by 2022, the 25-year-old baggage handling system will be upgraded with a new state-of-the-art system that includes baggage ID. Construction will follow a phased approach to minimize the impact on travelers, airlines and businesses currently operating in the terminal.

The expansion will support O’Hare in adding modern new features to cater to a wide range of passengers using the terminal. Upon completion of the new gates, Delta Air Lines will relocate to Terminal 5 from its existing location in Terminal 2. The move makes the way for Delta and its SkyTeam alliance partners to consolidate operations within the same terminal and use a new Delta Sky Club lounge.

“United is proud to partner with the City in ushering in a new era of travel in Chicago, one where United can continue to connect businesses and communities to the markets and moments that matter most around the world,” said Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines. “The investments we are making in our Chicago hub, complemented by the renewed commitment and investments at our headquarters in Willis Tower downtown, will allow us to better serve our customers and employees as we continue to build a future United Airlines that is worthy of being known as Chicago’s hometown airline.”

Ultimately, all United and American Airlines operations from Terminal 5, as well as many of their international partners, will relocate to the new O’Hare Global Terminal, expected to be completed in 2028.

“American Airlines is thrilled to see the progress in O’Hare’s expansion and redevelopment moving forward and breaking new ground,” said Franco Tedeschi, American’s VP – Chicago. “As we grow our Chicago network, the airport will be growing along with us and that will result in an improved experience for our millions of customers and 9,300 team members who call O’Hare home.”

Construction teams today broke ground on the new aircraft parking aprons, which will make way for the entire Terminal 5 extension and modernization program to be completed in two major phases. First, an expansion of the building’s footprint will create new space between Gates M7 – M12 and beyond Gate M21; followed by a reconfiguration of existing space to add additional checkpoint lanes, expand baggage claim areas, reconfigure the existing immigration and customs facility, and provide flexible use capability for domestic and international flights. Terminal 5’s enhancements, designed by Muller & Muller, maintain the integrity of the terminal’s original architecture.

“Delta people look forward to serving our Chicago as well as our global customers at the new T5 in the years ahead, offering them a world-class airport experience alongside many of our SkyTeam alliance partners with Delta’s excellent service and unmatched operational reliability,” said Holden Shannon, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Corporate Real Estate.

A later phase of the project that has yet to be designed includes additional roadway capacity, curbside enhancement and a new parking garage. It also contemplates a new terminal-adjacent hotel, pending airline approval to support the increased capacity and change of use of Terminal 5.

“The expansion of Terminal 5 is a win-win for Chicago residents, businesses, and travelers the world over,” said Matt O’Shea, Chairman of the Aviation Committee and 19th Ward Alderman. “With more gates and more amenities to serve customers, today’s investments to expand and modernize Terminal 5 will generate a better and more connected O’Hare tomorrow.”

To ensure timely, cost-efficient delivery of the new Terminal 5, the City will partner with its Program Manager and the Construction Manager At-Risk, which will also be charged with maximizing opportunities for local residents and businesses through new bid incentives designed to provide greater opportunities for more firms to participate. Additionally, City will soon issue an RFP for an Integrity Monitor to oversee compliance throughout construction on the O’Hare 21 program.

The improvements to Terminal 5, for which airline funding approval was initially received in 2017 are further supported by funding approvals made in conjunction the new airline use and lease agreement, approved last March by Mayor Emanuel and O’Hare’s airline carriers. The agreement sets forth an $8.5 billion capital redevelopment of O’Hare—the largest terminal expansion yet—which includes the addition of a new Global Terminal, three new concourses, 25 percent more gates, 60 percent larger airport terminal area that will allow more space for travelers to dine, shop and relax. The expansion creates opportunities for all airline carriers to grow alongside O’Hare, which is anticipated to lead to enhanced travel options at more competitive fares.

Since 2011, Mayor Emanuel has made it a top priority to ensure Chicago’s airports are not only some of the busiest, but are among the best in the world. By introducing some of the biggest capital projects underway in U.S. Aviation, the Emanuel Administration has worked to improve capacity, connectivity and efficiency across both O’Hare and Midway International Airports. More than $11 billion in airfield, passenger terminal, and infrastructure investments have been approved at Chicago’s airports under Mayor Emanuel’s tenure. These investments will create new opportunities for residents, including tens of thousands of new jobs and other long-term economic opportunities to benefit Chicagoans for years to come.

Source: Chicago Department of Aviation