O’Hare International Airport in the US state of Illinois has commissioned a new runway as part of a $6bn modernisation programme.

Chicago Mayor Lori E Lightfoot joined Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and other officials and representatives to inaugurate the Runway 9C/27C virtually.

The 2-mile-long runway is 200ft wide and capable of handling the largest aircraft in operation.

It is the final new-build runway developed as part of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP). The cost of building the runway was around $1bn, which was funded through a combination of federal airport improvement grants and airline-backed bonds.

The project created around 2,700 jobs during the construction period.

Runway 9C/27C will be used as one of the airport’s primary use arrival runways. However, it will handle departing flights initially.

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CDA commissioner Jamie L Rhee said: “Runway 9C/27C marks the completion of O’Hare’s parallel runway layout and provides Chicago with a 21st century airfield.

“This project significantly increases safety and efficiency and addresses the impact of airport noise by balancing O’Hare’s airfield operations. I want to thank the FAA and our airline partners for making this project a reality. I also want to express thanks and gratitude to our airline partners for their support and cooperation in this complicated project.”

Initially conceived in 2001, the OMP project is designed to strengthen O’Hare International Airport’s capacity, efficiency and reliability.

Mayor Lightfoot said: “The landmark O’Hare Modernization Program has already created 30,000 jobs, provided a gateway of opportunity for many small and diverse-owned local businesses, and enabled O’Hare to regain its rightful place as the busiest airport in the world.”

Currently, work on the Runway 9R Extension, the final runway project of the OMP, is underway.