Chicago has unveiled $8.5bn expansion plans for the O’Hare International Airport in the US, which include building a new terminal, adding 25% more gate capacity and modernising existing terminals.
The work to expand the airport’s capacity will be carried out over a period of eight years to provide better gate capacity and connectivity by 2026 in an effort to improve the passenger experience.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: “This plan is not just a game changer for O’Hare, it is a turning point for Chicago that will create tens of thousands of jobs for Chicagoans and strengthen our great city’s position as a national and global leader in travel, tourism and trade for generations.”
Under the plan, O’Hare Global Terminal will have modern security screening, new baggage systems, and advanced technologies installed throughout the hub, including self-service offerings. It was previously known as Terminal 5.
Additionally, Terminal 2 will be largely demolished and reconstructed to incorporate a new international arrivals facility, and renovations will be made to Terminals 1 and 3. These upgrades will expand gate capacity.
The modifications will increase O’Hare’s overall terminal square footage by more than 60%, from 5.5 million square feet to 8.9 million square feet.
With more gate capacity, the airport will be able to handle a wider range of aircraft, including larger aircraft.
More than 60,000 construction jobs will be created during the project’s entire execution period until 2026.
The investment plans announced are part of a vision that aims to modernise the airport by building higher capacity facilities to support its growth.
The latest terminal upgrades are said to complement several O’Hare 21 projects underway.
O’Hare currently serves 80 million travellers. It is projected to serve approximately 100 million passengers by 2026.