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Chicago, airlines nearing multibillion-dollar deal to dramatically expand O'Hare

The eight-year plan, which could cost as much as $8 billion, would be the single largest and most expensive terminal revamp in O’Hare’s 73-year history. ( More...

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Amazing stuff, amazing stuff.
Morris Floyd 1
Unaddressed in the plan as reported are several items, such as the need to drastically decrease walking distances from check-in to gates, which can be close to a mile; what will be the appetite of the Federal Government for the cost of additional ICE facilities; the impact on traffic. Many travelers in the northern part of the region are already favoring MKE over ORD, to the benefit of DL. Furthermore air traffic will continue to grow to the point that a limit on the number of planes in any given airspace inevitably will have to be limited. Given the prospect of behemoth aircraft that might be required to satisfy demand for seats under that scenario, I wonder what is the realistic useful life of the proposed expansion. I’d love to see evidence that this expansion is part of a 50-year plan that anticipates the need for a next-generation airport.
paul gilpin 1
this is a classic example of why a strictly aviation blog, can not longer be a, strictly aviation blog. politics is into everything now. and yes, the US congress is now designing aircraft. that should give you a warm and fuzzy.
chicago is broke. illinois is broke. and the slogan "rham" should use for this escapade is, "if you like your airline, you can keep your airline".
and just how is removing a runway going to improve anything?
my fondest memory of o'hare was back in 1978. i was making a connecting flight to cleveland. yes, it was a late afternoon departure, but it was mid-week. the flying time was announced as being 45 minutes. after we pushed back, i didn't notice but i feel asleep. i woke with a start, looked at my watch, we wore watches back then, and noticed i had taken a 20 minute nap. WE WERE STILL AT O'HARE!!!! long story short, from the time we pushed back until we took off, was 55 minutes.
so. how is removing a runway going to improve anything?
i'm going to bookmark this article/page, because they are going to love this at zerohedge the next time they have an article about chicago being broke.
John Barton 3
Paul - a lot has changed since 1978.

In '78 O'Hare had 6 runways, and they all criss-crossed, meaning that really...operationally...O'Hare had, like...2 runways. 3 on a good day.

Since 2015, O'Hare has 7 parallel runways, and only 2 left that are criss-crossing. Removing one of the remaining crossing runways will open up the ability to build still more non-crossing runways.
rchilde 2
and more importantly, the airport can build more gate space without the need for more terminals. The old way was to add terminals but as ATL, DEN, and PEK have shown; it is best to build more concourses with a grand terminal (or two or more) so to co-locate peer airlines and facilities. Reorganizing the runways was the first, and necessary step in that direction. Removing the final crosswind runway opens up the middle section for additional concourses all the way to the west (with perhaps a new West terminal at the edge). Think Denver and how they can add concourses to the East for like ever. .. that's what we're accomplishing; along with modernizing/widening the entire facility.
John Barton 1
I used to work at DEN, and saw the original planned out "Final Form" build sheets (a number of people have them as posters in their offices there!). The growth that DEN can accommodate is *massive*. The space is already designed to house:

* Terminal + 4x 6 level Parking Structures on either side (the 4th on the west side has been built.

* Concourses A, B, C, D, E - all built out with two "subcores" per side (like Concourse B is built today) for a total of ~210 mainline gates and ~140 "regional" size gates.

* 6 N/S runways - 3 Arrivals on the West Side, 3 Departures on the East Side.

* 6 E/W runways - 3 Arrivals on the North Side, 3 Departures on the South Side (2 north of Pena Blvd, and 3 over by the South Cargo Facility)
paul gilpin 1
Taxpayers gonna get SLAMMED.
So you think ORD has no or negligible economic impact on Chicago? Because if you do, you’re wrong. Or maybe that it’s not worth an infrastructure investment that significantly improves the capacity and efficiency of the airport? That would be an opinion. I wonder what you might think of the alternative which is something like the $160 terminal fees paid by the consumer at London Heathrow? From a capitalistic point of view that would make more sense along with the risk of course that it would drive connecting business to a competing hub with the resulting loss of business and revenue. These questions are not as simple as they may seem on the surface, so what do you propose?
Who ever said or even suggested that ORD has no or negligible impact on Chicago? Definitely not me.
rchilde 3
No, you said taxpayers got slammed - implying that $$ should not have been spent on ORD (which would further imply that ORD has no impact on the city). However, a fine read of the article would indicate you are very wrong even in your original statement, since none of this will hit the taxpayers but instead would come from marginal increases in rent and fees the airlines pay. To me, that indicates ORD is fully depreciated and therefore you can start with a blank slate with regard to rent and fees. This would be akin to your house fully paid but you take out an Equity loan now based on what a future expansion (and hence, appreciated future value) of the house will be. So would that be a waste or rather, a smart investment. ... And this is exactly what the city is doing, very smart.
No, my comment does not imply that money should not have been spent on ORD. You're seeing what you choose to see. DO you really think that the airlines will pay for this all by themselves and taxpayers will not feel any financial impact whatsoever? Honestly. Slammed might be an overstatement, but do you really think that Illinois politicians are going to get airlines to pay for this all by themselves? Seriously. I'm pretty sure you know the answer is no.


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