O’Hare Will Get Historic $8.5 Billion Transformation

City and airlines execute agreement to grow O’Hare’s terminals, creating tens of thousands of new jobs

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport will see a historic $8.5 billion investment after the O’Hare 21 modernization plan was signed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, city officials, and United, American, Delta and Spirit airlines.

The agreement is another step forward for Mayor Emanuel’s vision to build a modern O’Hare. This project is the largest capital expansion of the airport’s history and will create 60,000 construction jobs and tens of thousands of permanent jobs, spurring long-term economic growth and opportunities for the city.

The centerpiece of the new O’Hare plan is a new world-class international terminal, called the O’Hare Global Terminal, which will deliver a larger arrival facility and improvements to customs and immigration processing using new and advanced technologies for a seamless passenger connection experience.

Combined with the new Global Terminal, the extension of Terminal 5 will better integrate all domestic and international airline operations at O’Hare, helping millions of passengers each year avoid the hassle of long transfers between Terminal 5 and the terminal core. O’Hare will also make connecting flights more convenient for passengers by having each of the three international airline alliance partners operate within a single terminal facility. This will make O’Hare home to the first Global Alliance Hub in North America and one of only five in the world.

In addition to an abundance of construction jobs, O’Hare’s redevelopment is expected to spur the creation of new permanent jobs for Cook County. The projected 60,000 additional annual jobs includes 35,000 permanent tourism-related jobs and 25,000 new jobs for the airport, airlines, and supporting industries. With O’Hare 21 the airport will contribute an additional $16 billion per year to the local economy, based on activity associated with jobs and resources needed to operate and supply a significantly larger terminal complex.

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has committed to seeking all available opportunities for Chicagoans to participate in new contracting and employment opportunities. The agency will work to ensure meaningful participation by MBE and WBE firms to ensure that O’Hare’s ongoing redevelopment creates new opportunities for residents in every corner of the city.

For more information, visit ORD21.com.