O’Hare International Airport (ORD) has opened the eastern extension of Terminal 5, a major milestone in the $1.3B, four-year investment to expand and modernize the key gateway. The L-shaped East Concourse extension added 10 new wide-body gates, nine of which utilize multiple aircraft ramp systems, or “MARS gates,” providing the flexibility to accommodate larger, next-generation wide-body aircraft or more traditional narrow-body planes.
Crews broke ground in 2019 on the modernization of Terminal 5, with construction led by Austin Power Partners. The project boosted the Terminal 5 capacity by 350,000 square feet, while space devoted to passenger amenitiesd was increased by 75 percent.
Design firms HOK and Muller & Muller created the light-filled redesign of the facilities, maintaining the integrity of the terminal’s original 1993 design, but added more natural light and providing views across the airfield toward the Chicago skyline.
“With new gates, increased passenger amenities, a more efficient baggage handling system, and expanded security checkpoints and customs facilities, the state-of-the-art Terminal 5 of today is equipped to handle the growing demand we expect O’Hare to see in the coming years while offering an improved passenger experience,” CDA Commissioner Jamie Rhee said. “These crucial infrastructure investments will ensure that O’Hare maintains the capacity it needs to move forward with other O’Hare 21 work with minimal impact to operations.”
The expanded and renovated areas of Terminal 5 will also be home to a wide array of new concessions that are expected to open in phases throughout this year. In May 2022, the Chicago City Council approved the largest set of concessions agreements at O’Hare in more than a decade, including several local offerings such as Butcher and the Burger, Hampton Social, Bar Siena, Sparrow Coffee, and more.
These agreements will achieve an Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE) participation rate of 40 percent, exceeding the CDA’s goal of 32 percent and the nationwide goal of 10 percent, set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).