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FAA Clears Way for ORD Expansion

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its finding there is “no significant impact” of the proposed O’Hare International Airport (ORD) Terminal Area Plan, paving the way to start construction on two new satellite concourses, a new O’Hare Global Terminal that will replace Terminal 2, and other associated projects at the airport.

The FAA review process began in 2018 and consisted of a complex technical review of the environmental impact of the Terminal Area Plan, or “TAP.” This review, which is common for large airport capital projects, was required by the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

The FAA’s decision clears the way for construction to begin on the satellite concourses and related airfield work when the ground thaws this spring. The current construction timeline calls for the first satellite concourse to be completed in 2027 and the second satellite concourse to reach completion in 2028.

“Today’s news from the FAA gives us a clear path forward to start construction on the Terminal Area Plan which includes Satellite Concourses 1 and 2 and the O’Hare Global Terminal, the centerpieces of the capital improvement program we call O’Hare 21,” said Jamie Rhee, commissioner of the CDA, which owns and operates both O’Hare and Midway International Airports (MDW). “I thank the FAA for its comprehensive review of the proposed plan as we work to completely transform the O’Hare experience for the traveler of tomorrow.”

Demolition of ORD Terminal 2, the airport’s oldest passenger facility, will occur in phases, beginning in 2026 and with a target completion date of 2030 for construction of the O’Hare Global Terminal.

Construction of a large tunnel connecting passengers, baggage, and utilities between the O’Hare Global Terminal and the satellite concourses is anticipated to begin in 2024 with a construction completion date of 2030.

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