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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

O'Hare International Airport

Chicago O'Hare International Airport
O'Hare International Airport (USGS).png
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Chicago
OperatorChicago Airport System
ServesChicago, Illinois, USA
Hub for
Elevation AMSL668 ft / 204 m
Coordinates41°58′43″N 87°54′17″W
ORD is located in Chicago
Location within Chicago
Statistics (2009)
Passenger volume64,397,782
Sources: FAA and airport's website.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport (IATA: ORD, ICAO: KORD, FAA LID: ORD), also known as O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Field, or simply O'Hare, is a major airport located in the northwestern-most corner of Chicago, Illinois, United States, 17 miles (27 km) northwest of the Chicago Loop. It serves as the primary and largest hub for United Airlines. Following United's merger with Continental Airlines, O'Hare will become the second largest hub for United after Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. O'Hare is also a hub for American Airlines. It is operated by the City of Chicago Department of Aviation, associated with an umbrella regional authority.

In 2008, the airport had 881,566 aircraft operations, an average of 2,409 per day (64% scheduled commercial, 33% air taxi, 3% general aviation and <1% military). Prior to 2005, O'Hare was the world's busiest airport in terms of takeoffs and landings. Mainly due to limits imposed by the federal government to reduce flight delays at O'Hare,Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport became the busiest by that metric in 2005. O'Hare currently accounts for over a sixth of the nation's total flight cancellations even after the limitations. O'Hare International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world with 64,397,782 passengers passing through the airport in 2009, a −9.07% change from 2008. It is the world's second busiest airport in terms of aircraft movements. O'Hare has a strong international presence, with flights to more than 60 foreign destinations. O'Hare is the fourth busiest international gateway in the United States with only John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, Los Angeles International Airport and Miami International Airport serving more international passengers.

O’Hare International Airport has been voted the "Best Airport in North America" for 10 years by two separate sources: Readers of the U.S. Edition of Business Traveler Magazine (1998–2003) and Global Traveler Magazine (2004–2007). Travel and Leisure magazine's 2009 "America's Favorite Cities" ranked Chicago's Airport System (O'Hare and Midway) the second-worst for delays, New York City's airport system (JFK, Newark Liberty, and LaGuardia) being the first.

Most of O'Hare Airport is in Cook County, but a section of the southwest part of the airport is in DuPage County.

Although O'Hare is Chicago's primary airport, Chicago Midway International Airport, the city's second airport, is about 10 miles (16 km) closer to the Loop, the main business and financial district.


The airport was constructed in 1942-43 as a manufacturing plant for Douglas C-54s during World War II. The site was chosen for its proximity to the city and transportation. The two million square-foot (180,000 m²) factory needed easy access to the workforce of the nation's then-second-largest city, as well as its extensive railroad infrastructure. Orchard Place was a small nearby community and the airport was known during the war as Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field (hence the location identifier ORD). The facility was also the site of the Army Air Force's 803 Special Depot, which stored many rare or experimental planes, including captured enemy aircraft. These historic aircraft would later be transferred to the National Air Museum, going on to form the core of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's collection.
Air Traffic Control Towers
Douglas Aircraft Company's contract ended in 1945 and though plans were proposed to build commercial aircraft, the company ultimately chose to concentrate production on the west coast. With the departure of Douglas, the airport took the name Orchard Field Airport. In 1945, the facility was chosen by the city of Chicago, as the site for a facility to meet future aviation demands.

Matthew Laflin Rockwell, (1915–1988) was the director of planning for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and responsible for the site selection and design of O'Hare International Airport. He was the great grandson of Matthew Laflin, a founder and pioneer of Chicago. Though its familiar three-letter IATA code ORD still reflects the early identity of the airport, it was renamed in 1949, after Lieutenant Commander Edward "Butch" O'Hare, USN, a World War II flying ace, who was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Illinois World War II Army Airfields

By the early 1950s, Chicago Midway International Airport, which had been the primary Chicago airport since 1931, had become too crowded despite multiple expansions and was unable to handle the planned first generation of jets. The city of Chicago and the FAA began to develop O'Hare as the main airport for Chicago's future. The first commercial passenger flights were started there in 1955 and an international terminal was built in 1958, but the majority of domestic traffic did not move from Midway until completion of a 1962 expansion at O'Hare. The arrival of Midway's former traffic instantly made O'Hare the new World's Busiest Airport, serving 10 million passengers annually. Within two years that number would double, with more people passing through O'Hare in 12 months than Ellis Island had processed in its entire existence. In 1997 annual passenger volume reached 70 million. As of February 2010, United serves its flagship hub with an average of just under 200 daily departures, but the carrier's utilization of O'Hare peaked in 1994.

O'Hare Airport is municipally connected to the city of Chicago via a narrow strip of land about 200 feet (61 m) wide, running along Foster Ave. from the Des Plaines River to the airport. This land was annexed into the city limits in the 1950s to assure the airport was contiguous with the city, to keep it under city control and for the massive tax revenue. The strip is bounded on the north by Rosemont and the south by Schiller Park. The CTA Blue Line was extended to the airport in 1984.

United Airlines Terminal 1, Concourse B
American Airlines Terminal 3 Main Hall
Terminal 5 – International
O'Hare has four operational passenger terminals: 1, 2, 3 and 5. Two or more additional terminal buildings are envisioned. There is the possibility of a large terminal complex for the west side of the field, with access from I-90 and/or the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway, if the runway reconfiguration is completed and passenger numbers require additional terminals.

United Airlines/United Express is the largest airline at O'Hare, carrying over 45% of passengers. American Airlines/American Eagle is the second largest carrying 37.08% of passengers.

O'Hare has 182 aircraft gates throughout four Terminals (1, 2, 3, 5) and nine concourses (B, C, E, F, G, H, K, L, M).

Note: All international arrivals at O'Hare (except flights from destinations with border preclearance) are handled at Terminal 5.

Terminal 1

The original 1955 passenger terminal for international flights was replaced with the modern Terminal 1, designed by Helmut Jahn, in 1987.

Terminal 1 has 51 Gates on two concourses:

* Concourse B, with 22 gates
* Concourse C, with 29 gates

United Airlines runs a post-security shuttle service between Concourse C (Gate C-9) and Concourses E & F (Gate E-2A).

United also operates four Red Carpet Clubs at O'Hare, three of which are in Terminal 1 (two in Concourse B, one in Concourse C). Also operated by United are a United First International Lounge and a United Arrivals Suite. They are both located in Concourse C.

Terminal 1 is unique at O'Hare in that the C concourse is an island. Passengers transit between the two concourses via a walkway under the tarmac and are treated to a neon light show while riding on moving walkways.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 was built in a large airport expansion in 1962, along with the original portion of Terminal 3. It was United's sole terminal until the current Terminal 1 was built. In the 1960s/70s/80s it served United, Ozark, Braniff, Eastern, Northwest, Continental and Piedmont. In addition to Concourses E/F (which remain today), there was also an 11-gate Concourse D, which was demolished to make room for new Terminal 1.

In November 2009, Delta Air Lines moved to Terminal 2 from its previous home at Terminal 3 to align its operations with Northwest Airlines. Continental Airlines has moved its flight operations from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 as part of its move from SkyTeam to the Star Alliance and alliance with United Airlines. Continental, however, still maintains its check-in counters and baggage claim at Terminal 2. Continental relocated its ticket counters and baggage claim from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 on November 16, 2010.

United Airlines runs a Red Carpet Club in Terminal 2, near gate F3. Delta has a SkyClub on Concourse E.

Terminal 2 has 30 gates on two concourses:

* Concourse E, with 16 gates
* Concourse F, with 14 gates

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 was also built in the 1962 capital program. During the 1960s, and pre-airline deregulation, Concourse G served TWA, with a few gates reserved for Air Canada. Concourse H & K served American and Delta while Concourse K also served the large "regional" carrier North Central (later known as Republic Airlines). Terminal 3 was significantly expanded in 1983, with the construction of Concourse L for Delta Air Lines, which was initially known as the "Delta Flight Center". Concourse L also handled some international departures until the completion of Terminal 5 in 1993. On November 17, 2009, Delta moved to Terminal 2 to consolidate with merger partner Northwest Airlines.

Terminal 3 has 80 Gates on four concourses:

* Concourse G, with 26 gates
* Concourse H, with 21 gates
* Concourse K, with 22 gates
* Concourse L, with 11 gates

Concourse L is the smallest concourse in Terminal 3. With Delta Air Lines' move to Terminal 2 to consolidate with Northwest, the Delta SkyClub closed on November 16, 2009.

Terminal 4 (defunct)

Terminal 4 was O'Hare's interim international terminal from 1984 until 1993, and was located on the ground floor of the main parking garage. International passengers would check in at Terminal 4 and be taken directly to their aircraft by bus. Since the opening of Terminal 5, Terminal 4 has been changed into the airport's facility for CTA buses, hotel shuttles, and other ground transportation. The T4 designation will be used again in the future as new terminals are developed.

Terminal 5 (International Terminal)

All international arrivals at O'Hare (excluding flights from destinations with U.S. border preclearance), are processed at Terminal 5.

Terminal 5 has 21 Gates on one concourse:

* Concourse M, with 21 gates

Airlines and destinations
Airlines↓ Destinations Terminal/Concourse↓
Aer Lingus Dublin 5M
Aeroméxico Guadalajara, Mexico City 5M
Aeroméxico Connect Durango 5M
Air Canada Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson 2E
Air Canada Jazz Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary 2E
Air Choice One Burlington (IA), Decatur 3L
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 5M
Air India Delhi, Hyderabad 5M
Alaska Airlines Anchorage, Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma 3L
Alitalia Rome-Fiumicino 5M
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Narita 1C
American Airlines Austin, Beijing-Capital, Boston, Brussels, Dallas/Fort Worth, Delhi, Denver, Dublin [resumes April 5], Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Honolulu, Kansas City, Las Vegas, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester (UK), Mexico City, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York-JFK [ends April 4], New York-LaGuardia, Newark, Orange County, Orlando, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai-Pudong, Tampa, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Tucson, Tulsa, Washington-National, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Acapulco, Anchorage, Calgary, Cancún, Cozumel [begins February 12], Eagle/Vail, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Helsinki [begins May 1], Jackson Hole, Montego Bay, Palm Springs, Puerto Vallarta, Rome-Fiumicino, San José del Cabo 3H, 3K, 3L
AmericanConnection operated by Chautauqua Airlines Bloomington/Normal, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Dubuque, Flint, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kalamazoo, La Crosse, Louisville, Madison, Milwaukee, Moline/Quad Cities, Oklahoma City, Peoria, Rochester (MN), Springfield (IL) [ends April 4], Toledo, Wausau/Stevens Point, White Plains 3L
American Eagle Albuquerque, Allentown/Bethlehem, Atlanta, Baltimore, Blountville/Tri-Cities, Buffalo, Calgary, Champaign/Urbana, Charleston (WV), Charlotte, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dayton, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Dubuque, Evansville, Fargo, Fayetteville (AR), Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Harrisburg, Hartford, Houston-Intercontinental, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Knoxville, La Crosse, Lexington, Little Rock, Madison, Manhattan (KS), Marquette, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montréal-Trudeau, Nashville, New Orleans, New York-JFK [begins February 10], Newark, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ottawa, Pensacola, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Rapid City, Richmond, Rochester (MN), Rochester (NY), Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Sioux Falls, Springfield (IL) [ends April 4], Springfield (MO), Syracuse, Toledo, Toronto-Pearson, Traverse City, Tulsa, Washington-National, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Seasonal: El Paso 3G, 3H
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon 5M
British Airways London-Heathrow 5M
Cayman Airways Seasonal: Grand Cayman 5M
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong [begins September 1] 5M
Continental Airlines Cleveland, Fort Lauderdale [begins February 17], Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, West Palm Beach [begins February 17]
Seasonal: Anchorage [begins June 9] 1B
Continental Connection operated by Colgan Air Cleveland 1B
Continental Express operated by Chautauqua Airlines Cleveland 1B
Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines Cleveland 1B
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Salt Lake City 2E
Delta Connection operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Memphis 2E
Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky 2E
Delta Connection operated by Comair Atlanta, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK 2E
Delta Connection operated by Compass Airlines Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK 2E
Delta Connection operated by Mesaba Airlines New York-JFK, Salt Lake City 2E
Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle Airlines Memphis 2E
Delta Connection operated by Shuttle America Atlanta, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, New York-LaGuardia 2E
Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City 2E
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 5M
Iberia Madrid 3K
Iceland Express Reykjavik-Kleflavik [begins June 10] 5M
Japan Airlines Tokyo-Narita 5M (Moving to T3 on March 27, 2011)
JetBlue Airways Boston, Long Beach, New York-JFK 2E
KLM Amsterdam 5M
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon 5M
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw 5M
Lufthansa Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich 1B
Pakistan International Airlines Barcelona, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore 5M
Royal Jordanian Amman-Queen Alia 5M
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Stockholm-Arlanda 5M
Spirit Airlines Atlantic City [begins March 3], Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles [begins April 1]
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach 3L
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich 5M
TACA Guatemala City, San Salvador 5M
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk 5M
United Airlines Albany, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Baltimore, Beijing-Capital, Boise, Boston, Brussels, Buffalo, Calgary, Cancún, Charlotte, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Frankfurt, Grand Rapids, Harrisburg, Hartford, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Kona, Las Vegas, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Munich, New Orleans, New York-LaGuardia, Newark, Omaha, Orange County, Orlando, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Providence, Puerto Vallarta, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Rochester (NY), Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Tampa, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Washington-Dulles, Washington-National
Seasonal: Aruba, Bozeman, Cozumel, Jackson Hole, Kahului, Liberia (Costa Rica), Miami, Montego Bay, Palm Springs, Punta Cana, Rapid City, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San José del Cabo 1B, 1C
United Express operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines Charleston (SC), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Columbia (SC), Columbus (OH), Detroit, Greensboro, Huntsville, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Pensacola, Rochester (NY), Savannah, South Bend 1E
United Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines Akron/Canton, Albany, Allentown/Bethlehem, Appleton, Baltimore, Birmingham (AL), Bismarck, Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Dayton, Des Moines, Detroit, Fargo, Fayetteville (AR), Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Greensboro, Greenville/Spartanburg, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Lansing, Lexington, Lincoln, Little Rock, Louisville, Madison, Nashville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Pensacola, Peoria, Pittsburgh, Rapid City, Roanoke, Rochester (NY), Sioux Falls, South Bend, Springfield (MO), Syracuse, Traverse City, Tulsa, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1C, 1E,
United Express operated by GoJet Airlines Albany, Austin, Burlington (VT), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Dayton, Detroit, Greensboro, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Manchester (NH), Moline/Quad Cities, Montréal-Trudeau, New Orleans, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), Providence, Richmond, Rochester (NY), St. Louis, San Antonio, Syracuse, Toronto-Pearson 1C
United Express operated by Mesa Airlines Appleton, Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Dayton, Des Moines, Detroit, Harrisburg, Hartford, Houston-Intercontinental, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Memphis, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Raleigh/Durham, Rochester (NY), San Antonio, Savannah, South Bend, Syracuse 1C, 1E, 1F
United Express operated by Shuttle America Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Buffalo, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Charlotte, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Edmonton, Fort Myers, Grand Rapids, Halifax, Hartford, Houston-Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Moline/Quad Cities, Montréal-Trudeau, New Orleans, New York-LaGuardia, Norfolk, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Rochester (NY), Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-National, White Plains
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach, Spokane, 1B, 1C
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Allentown/Bethlehem, Asheville, Austin, Birmingham (AL), Boise, Bozeman, Calgary, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Charleston (WV), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Des Moines, Detroit, Duluth, Eau Claire, Edmonton, El Paso, Fargo, Fayetteville (AR), Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Hancock/Houghton, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Lansing, Lexington, Lincoln, Little Rock, London (ON), Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Milwaukee, Moline/Quad Cities, Muskegon, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ottawa, Paducah, Quebec City, Regina, Saginaw, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Saskatoon, Sioux Falls, South Bend, Spokane, Springfield (IL), Syracuse, Traverse City, Tulsa, Wausau/Stevens Point, White Plains, Wichita, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Aspen, Billings, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Kalispell, Missoula, Rapid City 1C, 1E, 1F
United Express operated by Trans States Airlines Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Columbus (OH), Dayton, Greensboro, Harrisburg, Knoxville, Madison, Manchester (NH), Moline/Quad Cities, Nashville, Norfolk, Omaha, Ottawa, Quebec City, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester (NY), St. Louis, Savannah, South Bend, Springfield (MO), Syracuse, Tulsa 1B, 1C
US Airways Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix 2E, 2F
US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines Charlotte 2E, 2F
USA3000 Airlines Cancún, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Ft. Myers, Huatulco, Montego Bay, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana
Seasonal: Cozumel, Ixtapa\Zihuatanejo, San José del Cabo 5M
Virgin Atlantic Airways Seasonal: London-Heathrow 5M

Top destinations
Busiest Domestic Routes from ORD (November 2009 – October 2010) Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 New York, NY (LGA) 1,186,000 American, Delta, United
2 Los Angeles, CA 1,050,000 American, United
3 San Francisco, CA 893,000 American, United
4 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 886,000 American, United
5 Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 797,000 American, Delta, United
6 Boston, MA 782,000 American, JetBlue, United
7 Denver, CO 771,000 American, United
8 Washington, DC (DCA) 740,000 American, United
9 Philadelphia, PA 659,000 American, United, US Airways
10 Seattle, WA 648,000 Alaska, American, United

Cargo carriers

There are two main cargo areas at O'Hare that have warehouse, build-up/tear-down and aircraft parking facilities. The Southwest Cargo Area, adjacent to Irving Park Road, accommodates over 80% of the airport's all-cargo flights, divided among 9 buildings in two tiers. The North Cargo Area, which is a modest conversion of the former military base (the 1943 Douglas plant area), also receives air freighters. It is adjacent to the northern portion of Bessie Coleman Drive.

Two satellite cargo areas have warehouse and build-up/tear down facilities, but aircraft do not park at these. Freight is trucked to/from aircraft on other ramps. The South Cargo Area is along Mannheim Road. The East Cargo Area, adjacent to Terminal 5, was formerly the airport's only cargo section but has now mostly evolved into an airport support zone.

The Southwest Cargo Area partially lies in the path of one of the new runways (10C/28C). The redevelopment of the airfield will entail moving/replacing this primary cargo hub.
Airlines↓ Destinations
ABX Air Cincinnati
Aerologic Atlanta, Leipzig/Halle
AeroUnion Mexico City
Air China Cargo Anchorage, Beijing-Capital
Air France Cargo Dublin, Glasgow-Prestwick, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon
Atlas Air Anchorage
British Airways World Cargo operated by Global Supply Systems Houston-Intercontinental, London-Gatwick, Washington-Dulles
CargoItalia Milan-Malpensa
Cargolux Anchorage, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Indianapolis, Luxembourg, New York-JFK
Cathay Pacific Cargo Amsterdam, Anchorage, Dallas/Fort Worth, Hong Kong, Houston-Intercontinental, San Francisco
China Airlines Anchorage, Taipei-Taoyuan
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai-Pudong
China Southern Airlines Shanghai-Pudong
EVA Air Anchorage, Taipei-Taoyuan
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark
Great Wall Airlines Anchorage, Shanghai-Pudong
Kalitta Air Newark, New York-JFK
Korean Air Cargo Seoul-Incheon
Lufthansa Cargo Anchorage, Frankfurt
Lufthansa Cargo operated by World Air Cargo Frankfurt
Nippon Cargo Airlines Tokyo-Narita, Anchorage
Polar Air Cargo Anchorage, Tokyo-Narita
Qantas Freight operated by Atlas Air Melbourne
Qatar Airways Cargo Amsterdam, Doha
Shanghai Airlines Cargo Anchorage, Shanghai-Pudong
Singapore Airlines Cargo Anchorage, Singapore, Xiamen
Southern Air Anchorage, Seoul-Incheon
UPS Airlines Louisville, Philadelphia

Runway layout at ORD

With the opening of new runway 9L/27R in November 2008, there are now 7 primary air carrier runways, arranged tangentially in 3 parallel sets. The largest is Runway 10–28, 13,001′ x 150′. Runways 9L, 10, 14L, 14R, 27L, 27R and 28 have Category III instrument landing systems (ILS),[19] allowing trained aircrews to conduct landings with as little as 600 feet (180 m) of horizontal visibility. All other runway approaches except 4L have full Category I ILS. Due to its location and prevailing winds, runway 4L is seldom used for landings. Therefore, it is equipped with a localizer, the horizontal guidance component of an ILS system, but does not have a glideslope, the vertical component.

Origninally, all runways at O'Hare intersected each other with the exception of 4R/22L. This creates problems in times of inclement weather, congestion at the airport, or high winds. There have been several aircraft near-collisions at O'Hare in recent years. The ongoing redevelopment, which essentially eliminates active runway intersections, is intended to alleviate collision hazards and delays at O'Hare.

Three runways (14L/32R, 9R/27L, and 4L/22R) of the original 1943 airfield's four have been upgraded to modern standards. Runway 14R/32L was added in 1955, 9R/27L (now designated 10/28) in 1968, 4R/22L in 1971 and the new 9L/27R in 2008. In 2003, the fourth original runway (18/36) was permanently closed; its short length, lack of use, and problematic placement no longer justified continued certification. Runway 18/36 is now shown as taxiway WT on current airport charts.

The ongoing redevelopment, when completed, will remove the 2 northwest–southeast runways (14/32 L/R), construct 4 additional east–west runways (10C/28C, 10R/28L, 9L/27R, and 9C/27C), and extend the 2 existing east–west runways (9R/27L and 10L/28R, shown on current charts as 10/28). The two existing northeast–southwest (4/22 L/R) runways will be retained. Currently, 1 of the 4 new runways has been constructed (9L/27R), and 1 of the 2 extensions (10/28) has been completed. The second new runway (10C/28C) is currently under construction.

In the original airfield configuration, runway 32L was often used for departures in a shortened configuration. Planes accessed the runway from its intersection at taxiway T10 (common) or taxiway M (not common). This shortened the effective length of the runway but allowed operations on runway 10/28 to continue without restriction. The full length of the runway was available upon request, though with the extension of 10/28 it was usually not needed. As part of the ongoing reconfiguration, in May 2010 runway 14R/32L was permanently shortened to 9,685-foot (2,952 m), and it now starts at taxiway M.

O'Hare has a voluntary nighttime (2200–0700) noise abatement program in place.

The runway reconfiguration program at O'Hare will also improve the airport for the A380 Super-Jumbo aircraft. As part of the runway reconfiguration program, on July 5, 2007, the runway previously designated 9R-27L became runway 10–28, and on August 30, 2007, runway 9L/27R became 9R/27L.

On September 25, 2008, a 2,857-foot (871 m) extension to 10/28 was opened.
[edit] Access to airport
CTA blue line station at O'Hare International Airport

* Road vehicles enter and exit via I-190, which branches off I-90 (the Kennedy Expressway) leading to downtown Chicago. Cars may also access the airport locally from Mannheim Road, the airport's eastern boundary. Aside from cargo access on its south side, all airport traffic travels through the east side of the airport. Local residents sometimes refer to I-190 as "the world's busiest Cul-de-sac" as a result of the one way access.
* Subway trains from the Blue Line of the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' depart the terminal from an underground station that opened on September 3, 1984.
* Commuter trains from the Metra North Central Service stop at the O'Hare Transfer station, which is connected to the Airport Transit System via a shuttle bus.

 Intra-airport transportation
 Airport Transit System
Airport Transit System with Hilton Hotel in Background

Access within the airport complex can be accomplished using O'Hare's Airport Transit System (ATS), a 2.5 mi (4 km) long automated people mover system that operates 24 hours a day, connecting all four terminals and the remote parking lots. The system began operation on May 6, 1993, and will be soon undergoing a US $90 million enhancement to add 24 new cars and to extend the line to a new remote parking garage.
Other facilities

A large air cargo complex on the southwest side of the field was opened in 1984, replacing most of the old cargo area, which stood where Terminal 5 now exists. This compex sits right in the middle of the footprint for new runway 10C/28C, and is to be replaced by a new facility.

The hangar area has multiple buildings capable of fully enclosing aircraft up to the size of the Boeing 747.

The new North Terminal Air Traffic Control Tower was designed by AECOM (design principal Jose Luis Palacios).

Modernization plan

O'Hare's high volume and crowded schedule can lead to long delays and cancellations that, due to the airport being a major hub, can affect air travel across North America. Official reports rank O'Hare as one of the least punctual airports in the United States based on percentage of delayed flights. In 2004, United Airlines and American Airlines agreed to modify their schedules to help reduce congestion caused by clustered arrivals and departures. Because of the air traffic departing, arriving, and near the airport, air traffic controllers at O'Hare and its nearby facilities are among the leaders in the world in terms of number of controlled flights per hour.

City management has committed to a $6 billion capital investment plan to increase the airport's capacity by 60% and decrease delays by an estimated 79 percent.This plan was approved by the FAA in October 2005 and will involve a reconfiguration of the airfield and addition of terminal space. The plan includes the addition of four runways, the lengthening of two existing runways, and the decommissioning of two existing runways in order to give the airfield six parallel runways in a configuration similar to that in Dallas and other large modern hub airports. This plan was very controversial as the added improvements, at the time they were proposed, were expected to increase the airport's air traffic capacity only slightly, given existing FAA rules. Additionally, the southernmost new runway would require the city acquire additional land, which was extremely controversial as residents did not want to move.

The Modernization Plan is now being implemented; an additional runway and Air Traffic Control Tower were commissioned on November 20, 2008. The new north runway, designated 9L/27R, initially served as a foul weather arrival runway, addressing one of O'Hare's primary causes of delay, but now serves as one of three runways that can be used simultaneously for landings. An extension of Runway 10/28 (formerly 9R/27L) to 13,001 feet (3,963 m) was opened in September, 2008, facilitating the shortening and eventual closure of the 13,000 feet (4,000 m) Runway 14R/32L. At the same time, the FAA redesigned departure routes for both O'Hare and Chicago Midway International Airport, increasing the number from three shared by both airports to five from each airport. With the new runway's opening, O'Hare's maximum aircraft arrival capacity increased from 96 planes per hour to 112 planes per hour; United Airlines's senior vice president of operations, Joseph Kolshak, told The Wall Street Journal that within a month of the runway's opening, "they were consistently hitting that."

Design efforts are underway for the remainder of the program, which includes three runway projects, a new western terminal complex and an automated people mover system. The O'Hare Modernization Program submitted an application to the Federal Aviation Administration to use approximately $180 million in Passenger Facility Charges to fund design work, which began in early 2009.

The second new runway (10C/28C) is currently under construction.

The modernization plan has required the acquisition of 126 acres (51 ha) of land in Des Plaines, Illinois; construction of runway 27R and the control tower cost $457 million and involved the rerouting of a creek and 14,000,000 cubic yards (11,000,000 m3) of fill to build up an embankment.." 2,800 residents had to be relocated, as well as a cemetery with 900 known graves. The program ultimately is expected to expand the airport's capacity to over 3,800 operations per day, up from the present capacity of 2,700, and will vastly increase passenger throughput. It will also improve the ability of very large aircraft such as the A380 to operate.

Flight caps in place since 2004 expired on October 31, 2008. Ironically, American Airlines eliminated over 60 daily flights at O'Hare because of soaring fuel prices. United announced similar cutbacks. Recent worldwide economic difficulties further complicate the forecasts for airport demand.

After initially opposing the Modernization plan, DuPage County has endorsed the plan citing the creation of jobs, commercial development, and the ability of O'Hare to regain the status as busiest airport.
existing runway
new runway
removed runway

Phase 1 (Complete)

Phase 2 (Extension complete, runway 14R/32L shortened to 9,685 feet (complete), future runway 10C/28C under construction)

Phase 3 (Beginning stages)

Final runway configuration
Resistance and alternatives

The neighboring communities of Bensenville and Elk Grove Village have been centers of resistance to the expansion plan due to their proximity to the airport and because some of their residents and businesses will be required to relocate. Bensenville and Elk Grove Village formed the Suburban O'Hare Commission to fight the expansion. So far, they have not had much success. The commission did receive a temporary injunction against portions of the city's expansion project; however, it was soon overturned. The Suburban O'Hare Commission has also been instrumental in pushing for a third regional airport in south suburban Peotone, which it claims would alleviate congestion at O'Hare. However, no airline has committed to the proposed airport, and planning efforts moved very slowly during 2007–08. In November 2009, Bensenville officially ended all resistance to the expansion, ceasing all legal challenges against the city of Chicago.It should also be noted that the city of Chicago is facing an issue with a historical cemetery located in the space of their planned runway expansion. Up until recently, the city was removing graves. This stopped when a state court stepped in on behalf of the buried's kin.

In 1995, the Chicago/Gary Airport Compact was signed by the cities of Chicago and Gary, Indiana, creating a new administration for the Gary/Chicago International Airport just across the state line. While markedly smaller than the proposed Peotone site, this airport already has more land and a longer main runway than Midway Airport. Gary is also many miles closer than Peotone to downtown Chicago. In addition public transportation is already in place to the Loop via the South Shore Line. Indiana and the FAA have provided significant funding for a Gary runway expansion, currently under construction.

Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) in Rockford, Illinois has also marketed itself as an alternative for congestion at O'Hare. However, it is at least a 1-1/2 hour trip to Rockford from the Chicago Loop. Currently there is no direct transportation service from downtown Chicago or O'Hare to the Chicago Rockford International Airport, but airline service at the airport continues to grow. Larry Morrissey, the current mayor of Rockford, has pushed for a high-speed rail connection between the two airports to make the Rockford airport a more convenient alternative to O'Hare.

General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) in Milwaukee has consistently attempted to increase its usage by Chicago and Northern Illinois customers. There is a direct Amtrak rail service connecting Chicago with Mitchell Airport. The trains operate seven round trips each day, taking under 75 minutes from the Chicago loop.

Accidents and incidents

1057 fatalities have occurred as a result of accidents en route to or from Chicago O'Hare.

* On February 9, 1998, American Airlines Flight 1340 crashed upon landing in Chicago from Kansas City International Airport injuring 22 passengers.
* On October 31, 1994, American Eagle Flight 4184 crashed over northwestern Indiana en route to Chicago, killing all 68 people on board.
* On September 8, 1994, USAir Flight 427 crashed on approach to Pittsburgh, PA, after departing O'Hare, killing all 132 people on board.
* On July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232, en route to Chicago from Denver, crash-landed in Sioux City, Iowa, killing 111 people on board.
* On August 10, 1986, American Trans Air Flight 131 exploded on the tarmac at O'Hare, destroying the plane.
* On March 19, 1982, a USAF KC-135 crashed upon approach to O'Hare 40 miles (64 km) northwest of the city (near Woodstock), killing 27 people on board.
* On May 25, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed just after takeoff on runway 32R from Chicago en route to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, killing all 271 people on board and two people on the ground. The crash remains the deadliest single-aircraft crash in United States history, and the worst aviation disaster in the nation before September 11, 2001.
* On December 20, 1972, North Central Airlines Flight 575 crashed upon takeoff, killing 10 passengers.
* On December 27, 1968, North Central Airlines Flight 458 crashed into a hangar at O'Hare, killing 27 onboard and one on the ground.
* On March 21, 1968 United Airlines Flight 9963 a Boeing 727 overran runway 09R on take off. None of the 3 crew on board were killed but injured and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
* On August 16, 1965, United Airlines Flight 389 crashed 30 miles (48 km) east of O'Hare while on approach, killing all 30 onboard.
* On September 17, 1961, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 706 had a mechanical failure in control surfaces and crashed upon takeoff at Chicago O'Hare killing all 37 onboard.


* On March 28, 1977, Douglas C-47A N57131 of Emery Worldwide was destroyed by fire following a taxiing accident. The aircraft was due to operate a cargo flight.
* On April 1, 1999, a near-miss occurred on the intersection on Runways 14 right and 27 left between Korean Air Flight 36 and Air China 9018, both Boeing 747s. The Korean Air 747-400 pilot took evasive action by applying maximum power, rotating earlier than planned, and rolling slightly left once airborne to avoid the Air China Boeing 747 freighter. The aircraft missed each other by an estimated 75 feet (23 m). The actions of the Korean Air flight crew are credited with saving everyone on board both aircraft. 7 years later, on July 23, 2006, another near-miss occurred between Giant 6972, an Atlas Air Boeing 747 and United Airlines Flight 1015, a Boeing 737, who missed each other by 35 feet (11 m).

* On October 8, 2001, on American Airlines Flight 1238, en route from Los Angeles to Chicago, a psychotic passenger stormed the cockpit 40 minutes before landing in Chicago, causing the plane to drop sharply and spark panic. In light of the fear ignited by 9/11, flight crew and passengers were quickly able to wrestle the man to the ground and subdue him. Additionally, a distress signal was sent by the pilots, causing two F-16s to race at supersonic speeds to intercept and escort the aircraft to O'Hare International Airport. This caused a sonic boom in Chicago's northwest suburbs, startling millions of residents.

* On the afternoon of November 7, 2006, a group of United Airlines workers reported seeing an unidentified flying object near gate C-17.

* On September 2, 2010, American Airlines Flight 1487 to Reno, Nevada was struck by lightning and forced to return. No one was hurt.

USAF use

The original Douglas plant on the northeast side evolved into a United States Air Force Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve facility after World War II.

Beginning in 1947, the airfield was assigned to Continental Air Command (ConAC). The 338th Bombardment Group flew B-29 Superfortresses from the airfield between June 12 and June 27, 1949. The B-29s were replaced by the 437th Troop Carrier Group, flying Curtiss C-46 Commandoes until being activated for the Korean War on March 14, 1951. Its aircraft and personnel were deployed to various units in South Korea and Japan, with the group being inactivated immediately afterwards.

During the Korean War, the ConAC reserve units were withdrawn and O'Hare was reassigned to Air Defense Command's Central Air Defense Force.The 62d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was transferred to the station flying F-86 Sabres. The 62d FIS remained at O'Hare until October 1, 1959, becoming part of the ADC 56th Fighter Group, and later being upgraded to the F-86D interceptor version of the Sabre.In addition, the federalized Oregon Air National Guard 142d Fighter-Interceptor Wing was stationed at O'Hare from March 1, 1951 to February 6, 1952.

Other Air Defense Command (ADC) squadrons assigned to the 56th FIW at O'Hare Airport were the 42d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1953–1955) (F-86D) and the 63d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1955–1958) (F-86D/L)[52] In 1960, the need for active duty ADC bases was diminishing and the Air Force inactivated its active-duty ADC units at O'Hare and returned the station back to Continental Air Command (later resesignated Air Force Reserve) to base reserve units under the 2840th Air Reserve Training Wing.

In 1961, the Illinois Air National Guard's fighter unit at O'Hare transitioned to an air refueling mission and was redesignated as the 126th Air Refueling Group, flying the KC-97 Stratotanker. In 1976, the 126th transitioned to the KC-135 Stratotanker, was redesignated as the 126th Air Refueling Wing (126 ARW) and was placed under the operational claimancy of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Following the deactivation of SAC in 1992, the 126 ARW came under the claimancy of the newly-established Air Mobility Command (AMC).

O'Hare Air Reserve Station was also home to the 928th Tactical Airlft Wing (928 TAW), later the 928th Airlift Wing (928 AW), of the Air Force Reserve Command, flying the C-130 Hercules. The 928th was operationally gained by the Tactical Air Command (TAC) until 1975, the Military Airlift Command (MAC) until 1992, and following the deactivation of SAC, TAC and MAC, by the newly-established Air Mobility Command (AMC) from 1992 forward.

The 1993 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended the closure of O'Hare Air Reserve Station as proposed by the municipal government of the City of Chicago and the transfer of both the 126 ARW and 928 AW to new facilities to be constructed at Scott AFB, Illinois, with much of the associated costs to be borne by the City of Chicago. The 1995 BRAC Commission modified the closure of O'Hare Air Reserve Station as recommended by the 1993 BRAC by deactivating the 928th Airlift Wing, rather than relocating the unit, and distributing its C-130 aircraft to Air Force Reserve C-130 units at Dobbins ARB, Georgia and Peterson AFB, Colorado.

The 126 ARW moved from the former O'Hare Air Reserve Station at O'Hare International Airport to Scott AFB, Illinois in 1999 as recommended by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's Report to Congress in conjunction with the closure of the Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard facilities at O'Hare.

Following the closure of the O'Hare Air Reserve Station, the former USAF facilities were redeveloped for air cargo and general aviation. Signature Flight Support services private aircraft in this area.


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