U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, executives from United Airlines and American Airlines and U.S. Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk announced on Monday March 14 a $1.17 billion agreement that will allow the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) to move forward, add runway capacity and prevent flight delays from growing to unacceptable levels. With this agreement between the City of Chicago and American and United Airlines in place, work can begin on an additional south runway, as well as other airfield improvements needed to deal with increasing traffic at the airport.
O’Hare International Airport has 64 million yearly passengers connecting to 130 domestic airports. The O'Hare Modernization Program is a project of national economic significance that will help ensure America can “win the future” by moving people and goods more quickly and efficiently to destinations across the country.
The O’Hare Modernization Program, managed by the Chicago Department of Aviation, is one of the largest construction projects in the country at one of the world’s busiest airports. The first phase of the program, which is still under construction, includes two new runways, a runway extension and a new air traffic control tower. When the program is complete, O’Hare will have eight modern runways, reducing flight delays and improving efficiency for travelers throughout the country.
“This is a landmark achievement that will benefit air travelers throughout the entire nation,” said LaHood. “Making improvements to O'Hare will not only reduce flight delays and improve service for air passengers across America, it will ensure one of our busiest airports continues to thrive economically in the future.”
“O'Hare International Airport is the economic engine that drives the economy of our city, our region and our state and connects Chicago to the world,” said Mayor Daley. “Unless we continue to modernize its infrastructure and operations, we will lose our competitive edge in the global economy. That’s why I am so pleased that the city has reached agreement with American and United Airlines on a way to proceed immediately with the completion phase of the O’Hare Modernization Program. The OMP keeps businesses thriving, residents working and our economy growing."
The construction schedule will accommodate the increasing activity without creating significant delays for passengers. The parties have agreed to return to the table no later than March 1, 2013, to negotiate the terms and timing of the remaining airfield components of the O’Hare Modernization Program. When completed, the program will provide needed airport runway capacity well into the next decade and beyond.