Media Contact: Karley Sweet | 312.553.4658 |

Chicago Welcomes United Airlines’ Operations to Willis Tower; United to Bring 2,800 Jobs to New Downtown Location

August 6, 2009

CHICAGO - In one of Chicago’s largest corporate relocations, United Airlines announced today that it will move its operational center, including 2,800 jobs, downtown to the Willis Tower in 2010.  The move demonstrates an emerging trend of corporations migrating into the city. 

United’s move will bring management, administrative, accounting, IT and crew planning/daily operations jobs from the company’s current operational headquarters in Elk Grove Township.  United expects the new offices to greatly improve the overall working environment for its employees, creating an updated, technologically advanced, centrally located, and LEED certified workspace.

The move will be one of the largest job attraction projects in Chicago’s recent history, significantly impacting Chicago’s economy.  An International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) study shows that each job brought into the city generates $7,249 annually per worker (adjusted for inflation) on expenditures including lunches, shoppers’ goods, convenience goods and dinner/drinks alone.  This increased economic activity downtown benefits other local businesses, along with boosting the City’s tax revenues.

“We believe that Chicago is the ideal place to run a business, because our city offers tremendous economic strength and resources combined with an enhanced quality of life,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley.  “During this tough economy, United's move is a show of confidence in Chicago and our economic future.  This is a positive moment for our city.”

“United and Chicago are inextricably linked, and this move further signifies our commitment to the city and region,” said Glenn F. Tilton, United chairman and chief executive officer, who also serves on WBC’s Board of Directors.  “Willis Tower is a world-class, landmark building that offers a much-improved working environment for our people and the flexibility to adapt to the many changes that are inherent in our industry.”

The move will bring United’s operations employees closer to colleagues at United’s world headquarters at 77 W. Wacker Drive, where 630 employees currently work. The office relocated from Elk Grove Township nearly three years ago.

“United’s decision to bring its operations center to Chicago exemplifies an increasing trend we are seeing of companies choosing to locate downtown due to the city’s unmatched advantages,” said Rita Athas, executive director of World Business Chicago. “The Willis Tower offers United a central location with incomparable access to the region, nation and world. We are delighted that United chose to relocate their operations center into the city.”

World Business Chicago assisted United in the company’s relocation process by serving as a liaison between the City, their real estate representatives and United. 


World Business Chicago is a not-for-profit economic development organization promoting metropolitan Chicago. WBC markets Chicago's competitive advantages, coordinates business retention and attraction efforts, and seeks to enhance Chicago's business-friendly environment. WBC's Board of C-level corporate executives is chaired by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.


Media Contact: Karley Sweet | 312.553.4658