Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
O'Hare International Airport
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O'Hare International Airport is an airport located in Chicago, Illinois, 17 miles (27 km) northwest of the Chicago Loop. It is the headquarters of United Airlines and the second-largest hub of American Airlines. Its IATA airport code is ORD, and its ICAO airport code is KORD. It is operated by the Chicago City Department of Aviation, associated with an umbrella regional authority.
O'Hare rivals Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world's busiest airport: Currently, O'Hare leads Hartsfield in annual aircraft movements, and Hartsfield leads O'Hare in annual passenger throughput. Both airports serve primarily as hubs for cross-country connections, although O'Hare also has a strong international airline presence with flights to more than 60 foreign destinations. O’Hare International Airport was voted the Best Airport in North America for the year 2003 by readers of the U.S. Edition of Business Traveler Magazine, marking six years in a row O'Hare has earned that honor.
O'Hare's high volume and crowded schedule can lead to cancellations and long delays that affect air travel across the United States. City management has committed to a $6 billion capital investment plan to revamp the airport's runway layout and add a new western terminal complex, increasing the airport's capacity and decreasing delays by an estimated 79 percent. In the meantime, the hub airlines have also recently agreed to modify their schedules to help reduce congestion caused by clustered arrivals and departures.
2.1 Terminal 1 (Concourses B and C)
The airport was constructed in 1942-3 as a manufacturing plant for Douglas C-54's 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 pre-existing community in the area, and the airport was known during the war as Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. 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 Air and Space Museum's collection.
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 Place Airport. In 1945, the facility was chosen by the City of Chicago as the site for a facility to meet future aviation demands. Though its familiar three-letter IATA code ORD still reflects the early identity of the airport, it was renamed in 1949 after Lt. Cmdr. Edward "Butch" O'Hare, a World War II flying ace who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
By the early 1950's, Midway Airport, which had been the primary Chicago airport since 1931, had become too small and crowded despite multiple expansions and was unable to handle the planned first generation of jets. The City of Chicago and 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 of 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 was 70 million.
On May 25, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed upon takeoff enroute to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California from Chicago, killing everyone on board and two people on the ground. The crash remains the largest single-aircraft air crash in United States history.
O'Hare International has four passenger terminals. 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.
Terminal 1 (Concourses B and C)
- Skywest dba United Express (Akron/Canton, Allentown/Bethlehem, Austin, Birmingham, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Charleston (WV), Cinncinnati/Northern Kentucky (Covington, KY), Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Columbus, Dayton, Des Moines, Fayetteville, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kalamazoo, Knoxville, Lansing, Lexington, Lincoln, Louisville, Memphis, Moline, Nashville, Peoria, Providence, Roanoke, Saginaw, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Sioux Falls, South Bend, Springfield (MO), St. Louis, Syracuse, Traverse City, Tulsa, Wichita, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)
- Chautauqua Airlines dba United Express (Albuquerque, Buffalo, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Houston/Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Louisville, New Orleans, Norfolk/Southern Virginia, Rochester, South Bend, and Syracuse)
- Mesa Air dba United Express (Atlanta, Austin, Cedar Rapids, Charlotte, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Columbia, Columbus, Des Moines, Greenville, Kansas City, Memphis, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, and Rochester)
- Trans States Airlines dba United Express (Albany, Bloomington, Burlington, Harrisburg, Manchester, Moline, Montreal, Portland (ME), Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, St. Louis, South Bend, Syracuse, and Westchester County)
- Lufthansa (departures) (Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich)
- United Airlines dba Ted (Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, and Tampa)
- United Airlines (Albany, Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Boise, Boston, Buffalo, Burlington, Charlotte, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (Covington, KY), Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Fort Myers, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Harrisburg, Hartford, Honolulu, Houston/Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Kahului, Kansas City, Kona, Los Angeles, Manchester, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, New Orleans, New York/LaGuardia, Oakland, Omaha, Orange County (Santa Ana), Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Providence, Richmond, Rochester, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane, Tucson, Washington/Dulles, Washington/Reagan, and West Palm Beach)
- United Airlines (International Departures) Amsterdam, Aruba, Beijing, Bermuda, Buenos Aires, Frankfurt, Grand Cayman, Hong Kong, London/Heathrow, Manchester, Mexico City, Munich, Osaka, Paris/Charles de Gaulle, San Juan, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and Tokyo/Narita)
Terminal 1 was built in 1987, replacing the 1955 Terminal 1 that had been the airport's original passenger terminal, used for international flights.
Terminal 2 (Concourses E and F)
- SkyWest dba United Express (See Terminal 1)
- Trans States Airlines dba United Express (See Terminal 1)
- Air Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto)
- America West Airlines (Las Vegas and Phoenix)
- Continental Airlines (Houston/Intercontinental and Newark)
- Continental Express (Cleveland, Houston/Intercontinental, and Newark)
- Independence Air (Washington/Dulles)
- Northwest Airlines (Detroit, Memphis, and Minneapolis/St. Paul)
- United Airlines (Destinations listed under Terminal 1)
- US Airways (Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh)
Terminal 2 was built in a large airport expansion in 1962, along with the original portion of Terminal 3.
Terminal 3 (Concourses G, H, K, and L)
- Alaska Airlines (Anchorage and Seattle/Tacoma)
- American Airlines (Domestic) (Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Boston, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Fayetteville, Flagstaff, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Fort Myers, Hartford, Honolulu, Houston/Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, New York/LaGuardia, Orange County (Santa Ana), Orlando, West Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Tucson, Tulsa, Vail, Washington/Reagan, and Westchester County)
- American Airlines (International Departures) (Birmingham, Brussels, Cancun, Dublin, Frankfurt, Glasgow, London/Heathrow, Manchester, Mexico City, Tokyo/Nagoya, Paris/Charles de Gaulle, Puerto Vallarta, Rome, Shanghai [eff. 2006], Stockholm, and Tokyo/Narita)
- American Eagle (Albany, Atlanta, Bloomington, Buffalo, Cedar Rapids, Champaign/Urbana, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (Covington, KY), Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Columbus, Dayton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Evansville, Fayetteville, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Greenville/Spartanburg, Harrisburg, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kalamazoo, Knoxville, La Crosse, Little Rock, Louisville, Madison, Marquette, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Moline, Nashville, Norfolk/Southern Virginia, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ottawa, Pensacola, Peoria, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Rochester (MN), Rochester (NY), Sioux Falls, Springfield, Syracuse, Toledo, Traverse City, Washington/Dulles, White Plains, and Wichita)
- Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (Covington, KY), New York/Kennedy, and Salt Lake City)
- Iberia (Departures) (Madrid)
- Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Tampa)
Terminal 3 was also built in the 1962 capital program. It was significantly expanded in 1983, with the construction of Concourse L.
Terminal 4 was O'Hare's interim international terminal from 1984 until 1995, located underneath 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 (Concourse M)
- Aer Lingus (Dublin and Shannon (via Dublin))
- Air France (Paris/Charles de Gaulle)
- Air India (Ahmedabad (via London/Heathrow and Mumbai) and Frankfurt)
- Air Jamaica
- Alitalia (Milan)
- American Airlines (International Arrivals)
- Aviacsa (Monterrey)
- British Airways (London/Heathrow)
- British Midland (Manchester)
- Cayman Airways (Grand Cayman)
- El Al (Tel Aviv)
- TACA (Guatemala City)
- Iberia (Arrivals)
- Japan Air Lines (Tokyo/Narita)
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam)
- Korean Air (Seoul/Incheon)
- Kuwait Airways (Amsterdam)
- LOT Polish Airlines (Krakow and Warsaw)
- Lufthansa (Arrivals)
- Mexicana (Guadalajara and Mexico City)
- Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi (via Manchester and Islamabad))
- Royal Jordanian Airlines (Amman)
- Ryan International Airlines (International Arrivals)
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines (Copenhagen and Stockholm)
- Swiss International Airlines (Zurich)
- THY Turkish Airlines (Istanbul)
- United Airlines (International Arrivals)
- USA 3000 (Fort Myers and Clearwater/St. Petersburg FL)
There are 6 primary air carrier runways, arranged tangentially in 3 pairs of parallel sets. The largest is Runway 14R-32L, 13,000' x 200'. Runways 14L and 14R have Category III ILS (Instrument Landing System). All other runways except 4L have full ILS.
Three runways of the original 1943 airfield's four have been upgraded to modern standards. Additional runways were constructed in 1955, 1968, and 1971. In 2003, old Runway 18-36 was permanently closed -- its short length and problematic placement no longer justified its continued certification.
The proposed redevelopment would entail removal of the 2 northwest-southeast runways, construction of 4 additional east-west runways, and extension of the 2 existing east-west runways. The two existing northeast-southwest runways would be retained.
Road vehicles enter and exit via I-190, which branches off I-90 (the Kennedy Expressway) leading to downtown Chicago. Trains from the Blue Line of the CTA's "L" depart the terminal from an underground station that opened on September 2, 1984. An on-airport train system which began in 1993 connects the four passenger terminals with each other and with long-term auto parking and on-site car rental complexes.
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.
The original Douglas plant on the northeast side evolved into an Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve facility, but this was closed in 1998 and is now being redeveloped for cargo and general aviation. Signature Flight Support services private aircraft in this area.
The hangar area has multiple buildings capable of fully enclosing aircraft up to the size of the Boeing 747.
- Atlas Air
- CAL Cargo
- Federal Express
- Polar Air Cargo
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