T5Groundbreaking 400 2O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission members, Joseph Annunzio, Catherine Dunlap, Dennis Ryan and Executive Director Jeanette Camacho joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jaimee L. Rhee and airline officials on March 20, 2019 at O’Hare International Airport for a groundbreaking on the first phase of a $1.2 billion expansion of Terminal 5.

By 2021, the expansion of 25-year-old Terminal 5 will increase total building area by approximately 350,000 square feet, making way for new passenger amenities, airline lounges, concessions spaces and the capacity to serve more travelers more comfortably.

T5Groundbreaking 400“Chicago and its airline partners are propelling the nation’s best-connected travel hub to the next level, starting with a more than $1 billion infusion that will bring new gates and expanded amenities to Terminal 5,” said Mayor Emanuel. These improvements represent the first in a series of O’Hare 21 expansion projects, following the opening of five new gates at Terminal 3’s Concourse L last May. Overall, the O’Hare expansion will increase gates and terminal area, better integrate domestic and international operations at the terminal, and increase Chicago’s leading global connectivity—while creating tens of thousands of jobs for the community.

"Thanks to our airline partners’ commitment to Chicago, we are offering increased connections, better services, and more reasons for travelers to choose O’Hare than ever before,” said Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. 

The Terminal 5 project will deliver the following improvements by 2021:

  • A 25 percent expansion of aircraft parking space (10 new gates) to better accommodate large aircraft and reduce gate delays
  • A 75 percent increase in space dedicated to passenger amenities, including 15 new dining and retail locations
  • A 70 percent expansion of premium lounge space, including a new Delta Sky Club
  • An expanded checkpoint with six new security lanes, and improved immigration facilities

The improvements to Terminal 5, for which airline funding approval was initially received in 2017 are further supported by funding approvals made in conjunction the new airline use and lease agreement, approved last March by Mayor Emanuel and O’Hare’s airline carriers. The agreement sets forth an $8.5 billion capital redevelopment of O’Hare—the largest terminal expansion yet—which includes the addition of a new Global Terminal, three new concourses, 25 percent more gates, 60 percent larger airport terminal area that will allow more space for travelers to dine, shop and relax. The expansion creates opportunities for all airline carriers to grow alongside O’Hare, which is anticipated to lead to enhanced travel options at more competitive fares.

Since 2011, Mayor Emanuel has made it a top priority to ensure Chicago’s airports are not only some of the busiest, but are among the best in the world. By introducing some of the biggest capital projects underway in U.S. Aviation, the Emanuel Administration has worked to improve capacity, connectivity and efficiency across both O’Hare and Midway International Airports. More than $11 billion in airfield, passenger terminal, and infrastructure investments have been approved at Chicago's airports under Mayor Emanuel’s tenure. These investments will create new opportunities for residents, including tens of thousands of new jobs and other long-term economic opportunities to benefit Chicagoans for years to come.