Chicago Airport Breaks Ground On $300 Million Runway Expansion

Work to develop Chicago Airport’s runway has started. That’s according to a statement released on Friday by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and Chicago’s mayor. The project is estimated to be costing over $300 million and is earmarked for completion in 2021.

Chicago Airport Breaks Ground On $300 Million Runway Expansion
United Airlines at Chicago O’Hare International. Photo: InSapphoWeTrust via Flickr

The details

Earlier this week, the Mayor of Chicago released a statement updating the progress of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport runway. On 25th October 2019, the Mayor, alongside the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United Airlines and American Airlines, broke ground on Runway 9R/27L.

Speaking about the expansion, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said:

“Chicago’s status as a global city rests on O’Hare’s ability to handle the ever increasing demand capacity, and today’s groundbreaking stands as a major milestone in ensuring a seamless experience for everyone passing through our city for years to come.”

The expansion, costing $334 million, will see Runway 9R/27L extended by 3,000 feet in length. It’s a project that the city hopes will increase capacity at the airport as well as prevent delays and improve flight schedules.

U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said in the statement:

“Extending the length of runway 9R-27L broadens O’Hare’s international reach and capacity, along with positioning the greater Chicago area to be key players in the global economy.”

What is the problem with the runway?

The federal branch in Chicago has not been shy in stating just how revolutionary they expect the runway expansion to be. However, the main issue at the moment is inefficiency. In its statement, the government branch said that O’Hare International was ranked as one of the lowest-performing airports for flight punctuality. So, it’s been aiming to resolve that for many years.

On 26th October, O’Hare International Airport published on its Twitter explaining that the project to reconfigure all of the runways at O’Hare Aiport had been approved back in 2005. Since then it’s been working hard.

Chicago Airport Breaks Ground On $300 Million Runway Expansion
The development of Runway 9R/27L is the last one to be completed. Photo: O’Hare International Airport via Twitter

Previously, the runways had been created in a non-uniformed way. For years the airport has been replacing its intersecting runways with six parallel runways. These runways have East to West arrival and departure pathways. Runway 9R/27L is the final runway to be developed.

The hope is that the uniformity will bring better customer service and continue to uphold high standards.

The $300 million slice of an $8.5 billion pie

The project to develop the runway is part of a wider scheme. An $8.5 billion project is in place to completely renovate O’Hare International. It’s called the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), or the O’Hare 21 program.

Chicago Airport Breaks Ground On $300 Million Runway Expansion
How the completed Terminal 2 is expected to look. Photo: Chicago Department of Aviation

The O’Hare Modernization Project is expected to be completed in 2021. Alongside the runway improvements, Chicago has also been working on development of its Terminal 2. As well as that, it has combined its domestic and international operations into a single Global Terminal and Global Concourse. We’re excited to see the final result!

What do you think of O’Hare International’s modernization? Let us know in the comments!