MONDAY MAR 04, 2024
×
Search AeroXplorer
United and American Take Action Against Chicago O'Hare Airport Expansion

United and American Take Action Against Chicago O'Hare Airport Expansion

BY ADNAN SHAHEED 11/30/2023 AGO 0 COMMENTS

United and American Airlines are set to collaborate on a new "global terminal" at O'Hare Airport, handling domestic and international flights. However, both carriers are now seeking Mayor Brandon Johnson's intervention to modify the plans. The airport's expansion project, including the global terminal and two satellite concourses, is currently $1.5 billion over budget.

 

A rendering of the planned new Terminal 2, the “global terminal,” at O’Hare Airport.
Rendering of the exterior of the “global terminal” | Photo: Studio Gang

 

Alderman Matt O'Shea, the City Council's Aviation Committee chairman, revealed that high-stakes negotiations have been ongoing for months. United and American, once rivals, are now aligning in their request to scale back or delay the project. Their primary concern is the substantial cost increase since the pandemic, with a decline in air travel compared to 2019.

 



ADVERTISEMENT • REMOVE ALL ADS


Notably, there are worries that United may reconsider its corporate headquarters location in Chicago, a threat initially made in 2018. The major phase of O'Hare's work is reportedly 24% over budget, and construction is yet to commence on key elements, including the global terminal designed by architect Jeanne Gang.

 

Rendering of the interior of the “global terminal” | Photo: Studio Gang


Possible options include revising the design to cut costs, with some in the industry criticizing it as an expensive "Taj Mahal." Alderman O'Shea emphasized the importance of modernizing O'Hare and Midway, citing the need to stay competitive, especially as other airports aim to attract passengers and strengthen their hubs.


United and American Airlines confirmed the $1.5 billion budget overrun, expressing concerns about escalating costs as construction progresses. While they remain committed to modernizing O'Hare, they stress the necessity of controlling costs, as airline ticket taxes, landing fees, and other airport revenue sources fund the project.

 

Photo: AeroXplorer | Ben Allen


Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee refrained from disclosing specific details about the carriers' demands but affirmed the commitment to O'Hare's growth and development. Mayor Brandon Johnson's Chief Operating Officer, John Roberson, mentioned ongoing discussions with the airlines, emphasizing the value of the partnership.

 



ADVERTISEMENT • REMOVE ALL ADS


Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged Mayor Johnson to uphold the 2018 agreement, emphasizing the benefits of a modernized O'Hare. He argued that Chicago should honor the contract, given the increasing demand for air travel globally.

 

Photo: AeroXplorer | Kevin Pedro


Despite concerns raised by United and American about project costs, the overall outlook for aviation is more positive than during the pandemic. Passenger loads have returned to pre-pandemic levels, although business travel's recovery is slower than leisure travel.


The joint request by United and American to slow down the expansion marks a reversal from their adversarial stance in 2018. At that time, American accused Emanuel of favoritism towards United in gate allocation, leading to threats of legal action and hub reduction at O'Hare.

 

Photo: AeroXplorer | Raymond Gleadle


The O'Hare expansion project, initially an $8.7 billion endeavor, is now estimated at $12.1 billion, with delays and potential scaling back reported during the early months of the pandemic. Mayor Lori Lightfoot inaugurated a new terminal extension in January 2023, highlighting increased capacity and amenities to improve the passenger experience.

 



ADVERTISEMENT • REMOVE ALL ADS


As negotiations continue, the city must decide whether to proceed with the planned expansion, modify the design to reduce costs, or address United and American Airlines' concerns.


 

 AeroXplorer is on Telegram! Subscribe to the AeroXplorer Telegram Channel to receive aviation news updates as soon as they are released. View Channel 
Adnan Shaheed
Hi! I'm an aspiring engineering student with an interest in aviation. I really took an interest in Aeroxplorer because it lets me do what I love: talk about planes to people.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

SHARE

TAGS

NEWS United Airlines American Airlines Chicago O'Hare ORD Airport Expansion Construction Finance Illinois Government Politics United American

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Mexicana de Aviación Switches to Embraer After Airline Ditches Boeing Order for Faster Launch In February, Mexicana de Aviación, a revived Mexican state-owned airliner, announced the order of ten Embraer jets slated for a May 2025 delivery. The switch to Embraer is unexpected, as initial partnerships were confirmed with Boeing, indicating the purchase of some 737s. NEWS READ MORE »
Neste’s Innovative Solution Will Reduce Companies’ Business Travel Emissions by Up to 80% Finnish refining company Neste introduced a new solution to help companies reduce their aviation emissions by purchasing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Neste Impact allows businesses to report carbon dioxide emissions reductions that align with their sustainability targets. NEWS READ MORE »
How Does Essential Air Service Benefit Small and Isolated Communities? The Essential Air Service program was implemented to guarantee that small communities served by certified air carriers before airline deregulation maintained a minimal level of scheduled air service. INFORMATIONAL READ MORE »


SHOP

$2999
NEW!AeroXplorer Aviation Sweater Use code AVGEEK for 10% off! BUY NOW

FOLLOW US ONLINE