Chicago O’Hare Commissions New Runway

ORD Runway 10C-28C_Sept 2013_Cortez (5)Chicago O’Hare has commissioned its fourth new runway in five years.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), elected officials, business leaders and airline representatives today for the commissioning of the newest runway built at O’Hare International Airport under the O’Hare Modernisation Programme (OMP), Runway 10C-28C.  The new runway on O’Hare’s south airfield is the fourth major runway project completed under the OMP since 2008 and is the final component of OMP Phase One.
“I want to thank Transportation Secretary Foxx, former Transportation Secretary LaHood, US Senators Durbin and Kirk and our airline partners for their leadership and support in prioritising the investment for this critical improvement to Chicago’s global gateway, O’Hare International Airport,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “O’Hare is one of our City’s key economic engines and the opening of Runway 10C-28C will create thousands of quality jobs for Chicagoans, vastly increase the airport’s efficiency and capacity, and further solidify O’Hare as the best connected airport in the US and around the world.”
The opening of Runway 10C-28C comes on the heels of a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) citing O’Hare as the best connected airport, large or small, in the US and in the world, according to an Airport Connectivity Quality Index developed by the MIT International Centre for Air Transportation.
“The Obama Administration is committed to transportation investments like the O’Hare runway expansion that will enhance safety and help our economy grow.  The runway we are commissioning today is a perfect example, both through the jobs already created to build it and the jobs it will support by securing O’Hare’s place as one of the world’s busiest airports well into the future.  It is also a powerful reminder of what we can accomplish when industry and government work together – the kind of public private investment we need to tackle our biggest transportation needs,” said US Transportation Secretary Foxx.  “Today’s announcement is great news for the city, great news for its residents and businesses, and great news for air travelers everywhere who will now move through the entire air system more safely and efficiently.”
At 10,800-feet (3,292m) in length and 200-ft (61m) in width, Runway 10C-28C is Chicago’s first Group VI capable runway, built to accommodate the largest aircraft that fly today, including the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A380.  With the addition of Runway 10C-28C, O’Hare now has four east-west parallel runways.  Air traffic will now primarily flow to and from the East and West.  This orientation increases the airport’s maximum arrival and departure rates in all weather conditions and the airport says the addition of Runway 10C-28C can reduce delays by nearly 50%.  It adds that as demand grows, the new runway will allow for nearly 90,000 additional annual flights while still reducing flight delays.
“As one of the busiest airports in the world, O’Hare is a great asset to the Chicago metropolitan area and its economy.  Modernising the airport will improve travel times and shipping efficiency for travellers and businesses here and across the country. This new runway represents an important step in that work, and I applaud Mayor Emanuel and Commissioner Andolino for their efforts to ensure O’Hare remains a vital 21st century transportation centre,” said US Senator Dick Durbin.
“The O’Hare Modernisation Programme is not just about meeting the current demands of the airport,” Senator Kirk said.  “It also provides the framework to ensure O’Hare continues to grow and thrive as the region’s economic engine for decades to come. I’m proud to support Mayor Emanuel and the entire Chicago Department of Aviation team on this important milestone.”
The opening of Runway 10C-28C is estimated to create $4 billion dollars in new economic activity annually and nearly 50,000 jobs.
“Today, we begin a new chapter for O’Hare as a more efficient, modernised airport of the future,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S Andolino.  “The opening of Runway 10C-28C is an historic event for Chicago, O’Hare and the O’Hare Modernisation Programme.  We would not be here without the support of the Federal Aviation Administration, our airline partners United Airlines and American Airlines, elected officials, as well as many labour, business and civic leaders.”
The construction of Runway 10C-28C, which began in 2006, created 1,000 construction and professional services jobs each year during the project’s duration. To facilitate construction of Runway 10C-28C and another future runway, O’Hare’s south airfield and its immediate surroundings were completely transformed and improved.  The work required the acquisition and demolition of 500 properties and completion of 19 different enabling projects including the relocation of the Union Pacific railroad; Irving Park Road; and two replacement cargo facilities for FedEx and United Airlines.  The total cost to construct Runway 10C-28C, including the enabling projects, was approximately $1.3 billion dollars.
Photo: (Chicago Department of Aviation/cc)