Chicago O’Hare Airport expansion receives FAA approval for US$7 billion

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When the ground thaws this spring, construction workers will begin a $7.1 billion expansion of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. This is after the project received the green light from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The approval comes approximately 4 years since the project’s environmental evaluation started back in 2018.

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), which owns the airport, is now set to begin carrying out its ten-year Terminal Area Plan. The plan comprises expanding gates and amenity space and replacing the aging Terminal 2 with a twice-as-large O’Hare Global Terminal.

In addition, the Chicago O’Hare Airport expansion project involves the development of two new “satellite” concourses connected by a tunnel. The upgrades are the Chicago O’Hare Airport’s first in six years, according to Fitch and S&P Global.

Chicago O’Hare Airport expansion project timeline

Beginning in 2024, the construction of a large tunnel connecting the satellite concourses and the global terminal is planned. The satellite concourses are expected to be completed in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

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Soon after, the old Terminal 2 will be demolished starting in 2026 and in 2030, CDA plans to complete the new Global Terminal. However, as the lengthy and difficult construction cycle starts the following year, the CDA warned that “all dates are subject to further modification.”

Expectations for the project

“Chicago’s transportation network is what makes this city a financial center of international significance.

Now, as we get ready to break ground on O’Hare’s newest terminal, Chicago and the entire region will be in a position to grow and create well-paying jobs thanks to the advantages of top-notch infrastructure, starting with the construction project itself, said US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg.

According to the CDA, the project will generate over 22,000 design and construction jobs.