Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) in the US has opened the new eastern extension of Terminal 5 (T5) at O’Hare International Airport, marking the completion of the T5 expansion project.

The $1.3bn project expanded the terminal’s capacity by 25% and added nearly 350,000ft² to the existing building.

It is said to enhance terminal efficiency with expanded gate capacity, security checkpoints, and amenity space.

Chicago Mayor Lori E Lightfoot said: “O’Hare is a significant economic engine for our entire region and the first impression of Chicago for millions of visitors every year.

“That’s why we are especially proud to cut the ribbon to this expanded, modernised Terminal 5, which represents a major milestone in O’Hare’s kerb-to-gate transformation into one of the great airports of the 21st century under the O’Hare 21 capital improvement programme.

“Importantly, this project will also build on my administration’s and CDA’s ongoing commitment and efforts to create equitable, economic opportunities for Black and Brown residents, businesses, and construction and development firms.”

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The ground-breaking ceremony for the T5 upgrade was held in 2019.

HOK and Muller & Muller designed the renovation project, while Austin Power Partners spearheaded the construction work.

The L-shaped East Concourse extension added ten new wide-body gates, of which nine use multiple aircraft ramp systems (MARS) gates.

MARS gates have been designed to house larger and wide-body aircraft along with traditional narrow-body aircraft.

The project also incorporates green elements such as water efficiency measures, Energy Star roofing, and natural light penetration, among others.

CDA commissioner Jamie Rhee said: “With new gates, increased passenger amenities, a more efficient baggage handling system, and expanded security checkpoints and customs facilities, the state-of-the-art Terminal 5 of today is equipped to handle the growing demand we expect O’Hare to see in the coming years while offering an improved passenger experience.

“These crucial infrastructure investments will ensure that O’Hare maintains the capacity it needs to move forward with other O’Hare 21 work with minimal impact to operations.”