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-   -   CHICAGO: ORD & MDW discussion (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=87889)

OrdoSeclorum Aug 11, 2023 3:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moorhosj1 (Post 10011674)
Everything converging on one location has downsides (I.e. all CTA trains going to the Loop) and Midway is already the 25th busiest airport in the country. The city of Newark has 300k people and the airport helps keep down NYC congestion. ATL is about to run into problems because they are out of space to expand. I thought competition was good?



There's a place for secondary and tertiary airports. Midway is full. If after O'Hare is built out with the new terminals the next step will be probably be to build western terminals. If at some point O'hare is too busy to accommodate all of the flights to New York and Mexico City and Frankfurt and we need a third airport to handle Las Vegas and Orlando overflow, the right move is to expand the Gary airport which already exists, is closer to the center of population and is served by rail to Chicago. It would be great if that airport wasn't in another state. But if the point is to simply make work for people, not build good projects, we can pay them to dig holes and fill them in again. If that isn't enough work, we can give them smaller shovels.

Analysts think that the Peotone airport is a waste of resources and poorly located. The plan to use it as a cargo airport now is a backdoor attempt to get it built.

The far south end of the metro area way, way past Joliet, like Bourbonnais and Kankakee, simply doesn't have all of the infrastructure that sprawls out to the west, northwest and west to Aurora, Woodstock and Kenosha. I know why landowners out there would like to build a far south highway to Kokomo and build an extra airport there--there's room for it and it would make their property values go up. Doesn't mean we need to listen to them. Pritzker is throwing them a bone by agreeing to have it studied again.

Tom In Chicago Aug 11, 2023 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OrdoSeclorum (Post 10011659)
If Chicago needs a third airport to meet regional travel demand or serve high volume long distance routes, Gary already exists.

Correct. . .

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10011697)
Annex NW Indiana. Problem solved.

Or create a bi-state entity like the Port Authority that can more successfully develop and maintain Gary. . . THAT would be a real driver of economic growth in the area as the infrastructure already exists. . .

. . .

As others have already said, the idea of Peotone is a political project that has yet to suss out any viable solutions that the state of Illinois - or Chicagoland for that matter - can afford to bother with. . .

The Illiana Expressway makes more sense than an airport at Peotone, and I don't see any reason to spend any time thinking about THAT either. . .

. . .

Steely Dan Aug 11, 2023 5:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SIGSEGV (Post 10011432)
There's already one failed airport in Illinois (mid-america).

One would hope that our dumb state would've learned from its past mistake.

But alas, our dumb state is dumb.

nomarandlee Aug 14, 2023 12:24 PM

Midway Airport
 
As reported over at airliners.net by numerous forumers it seems that Runway 31R/13L is permanently closed.

This has led to conjecture that, given its closure, it may open up the possibility of expanding the A and B terminals. Theoretically, if that was done, each terminal could be further by approximately at least another 400 feet.

Just doing rough sketching seems that could add up to another 15-20 gates total.

sentinel Aug 14, 2023 1:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10013235)
As reported over at airliners.net by numerous forumers it seems that Runway 31R/13L is permanently closed.

This has led to conjecture that, given its closure, it may open up the possibility of an expansion of the A and B terminals. If that was done, each could be further by approximately another 400 feet.

Just doing rough sketching seems that could add up to another 15-20 gates total.

Link, please?

Steely Dan Aug 14, 2023 2:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10013235)

Just doing rough sketching seems that could add up to another 15-20 gates total.

Wow, that would be a gigantic increase in gate capacity for MDW, which currently has 43 gates.

nomarandlee Aug 14, 2023 5:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 10013274)
Link, please?

https://www.airliners.net/forum/view...64f&start=1000

https://www.airliners.net/forum/view...1000#p23915949

sentinel Aug 14, 2023 6:18 PM

Awesome, thanks

sentinel Aug 14, 2023 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10013235)
As reported over at airliners.net by numerous forumers it seems that Runway 31R/13L is permanently closed.

This has led to conjecture that, given its closure, it may open up the possibility of expanding the A and B terminals. Theoretically, if that was done, each terminal could be further by approximately at least another 400 feet.

Just doing rough sketching seems that could add up to another 15-20 gates total.

But like you mention, it's conjecture, and I have not seen or read anything that would indicate any expansion at Midway in the immediate future.
I guess, why would they close a major runway now for work that hasn't even been released yet? Any runway reduction/elimination would surely reduce operations, how many flights come in and out of the airport, no? Unless there is information that I'm missing :shrug:

nomarandlee Aug 14, 2023 7:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 10013606)
But like you mention, it's conjecture, and I have not seen or read anything that would indicate any expansion at Midway in the immediate future.
I guess, why would they close a major runway now for work that hasn't even been released yet? Any runway reduction/elimination would surely reduce operations, how many flights come in and out of the airport, no? Unless there is information that I'm missing :shrug:

Right, it remains a theoretical proposition. Still, even posing it as a theoretical possibility would be impossible to consider without the runway closing.

I am unsure if the operational limits imposed on Midway are more of a runway capacity problem or a gate capacity problem. I have always assumed it's more the latter. Though with more gates would come the need for more/larger holding bays (that, looking at the airport layout, could also be enlarged even with terminal expansion).

From what I remember reading, the runway that would be closed is relatively little used by private general aviation aircraft, not used by commercial carriers. I guess officials figure that they only need two smaller runways for general aviation aircraft (as opposed to the three currently), with the two largest used for the commercial operations.

k1052 Aug 14, 2023 8:23 PM

IIRC MDW runs out of gates and hold areas for aircraft. Removal of this runway would present opportunities to fix both problems.

sentinel Aug 14, 2023 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10013670)
Right, it remains a theoretical proposition. Still, even posing it as a theoretical possibility would be impossible to consider without the runway closing.

I am unsure if the operational limits imposed on Midway are more of a runway capacity problem or a gate capacity problem. I have always assumed it's more the latter. Though with more gates would come the need for more/larger holding bays (that, looking at the airport layout, could also be enlarged even with terminal expansion).

From what I remember reading, the runway that would be closed is relatively little used by private general aviation aircraft, not used by commercial carriers. I guess officials figure that they only need two smaller runways for general aviation aircraft (as opposed to the three currently), with the two largest used for the commercial operations.

Really interesting and thoughtful breakdown, which makes a lot of sense now, regarding the shutdown of the runway in question.

Chicago Shawn Aug 15, 2023 6:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 10011304)
https://idot.illinois.gov/transporta...ect-study.html

"The vision for the South Suburban Airport involves designing and constructing a supplemental, commercial service airfield that will serve the greater Chicagoland area. Located conveniently outside of Chicago, a major transportation hub in America’s heartland, the South Suburban Airport will offer travelers and businesses an expanded array of options in air and freight travel to meet their growing transportation needs."
______________________________________________________________________________

https://patch.com/illinois/newlenox/...-hastings-says

“For people who feel that the South Suburban Airport is a threat to Midway, is a threat to O’Hare, would complete with Rockford, would compete with the Quad Cities, I just think we’re just in a very, very unique geographic situation with an immense amount of growth compared to other regions of the state,” Hastings told Patch on Friday.

Hastings, who represents constituents in both Will and Cook County, said that considering other transportation options throughout the region between the interstate systems, trains, and the Intermodal Transportation Center in Joliet, adding a regional airport only makes sense. He said the airport would be a “natural complement” to other transportation hubs.

He said a new airport “ties everything together” and believes that the job creation and investment into the Southland region would be substantial, Hastings told Patch...
"

"...“What you don’t want is, if you build it, they will come,” Pritzker said previously, according to the report. “Just building the thing and hoping that people will show up to essentially pay for the airport having been built.”

Yet, Hastings said he would have never helped introduce legislation — or even supported it — if he felt like the project would lead to a dead end. Whether that means cargo companies coming forward or regional carriers committing to fly in and out of the South Suburban Airport, Hastings believes it provides a unique opportunity for the region.

He compares the project to Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich., which has been providing international travel for years. The airport allows local residents to fly in and out of the city without having to travel to bigger airports such as Detroit and Chicago.

Like the south suburbs, the Grand Rapids region has continued to develop and grow and has supported having the airport there. Similarly, Hastings believes the addition of an airport in the South Suburban region could only be a positive for local residents and the region’s economy as well.

Hastings points to the fact that Target and Solo Cup will add warehouses along the I-57 corridor in addition to the four Amazon regional distribution centers that already exist. He says that adding an airport to the mix only will help to drive the local economy, while also providing residents with an alternative to driving farther away to fly to certain destinations.


He says as a lawmaker who represents the region, he and others like Harris have to do what they can to help prepare the South Suburbs for natural growth, which he said the additional airport would do while helping generate “a lot of success” for the region."

I'm in agreement that it is short-sighted to outright say no to a south suburban airport, at least until we see a revised feasibility report and after soliciting cargo haulers if they would commit to it. Will County is becoming THE mid-America logistics hub because of the truly unique location as the terminus of two transcon rail companies with 100% international freight ports in Joliet and Elwood that are direct extensions to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as the north-south leg of Canadian National on the old IC trackage paralleling I-57. The three interstate highways of 55,57 and 80 coming together here also places this territory within a 1-day drive of 1/3 of the nation's GDP. Millions of square feet of warehouse space is being added every year in the far south-southwest suburban submarkets and millions more squared footage is approved. The Northpoint project alone will add over 30 million square feet immediately west of Manhattan. All of that land is now annexed to Joliet and is entailed for development, complete with it's own internal circulation system of truck roads. Elion 55 in Wilmington is another multi-modal industrial park with over 30 million square feet in development and direct access to both UP and BNSF.

Rail cargo is expected to double in the near future through these facilities and more warehouses are coming. I have actually flipped my position on the Illinia Expy because of it. We need road improvements for these additional trucks to circulate through this area and it would be best to put them on a toll road which the trucking companies would largely pay for rather than shouldering road upgrades and continued maintenance entirely on the public's dime, just as what happened to IL-47 upgrading to a divided highway anyway after the Prairie Parkway was officially cancelled.

When you look at all of these factors in the context of this immediate area's most likely continued growth scenarios, then yes a cargo airport connected to a new east-west toll road begins to make a lot of sense (on paper). Whether or not private industry also decides to jump on board is of course a different story.

Additionally, if hypothetically a cargo facility was built here, that could take some capacity pressure off of O'Hare and allow it to accommodate more passenger flights in the future. A true cargo airport is also huge, and a high capacity new facility really could not be accommodated at existing airports with the exception of Rockford, which is also expanding right now. The FedEx operations at Memphis for example are significantly larger than the passenger facilities, so while yes O'Hare could continue gradual phased expansion, there is only so much space on that airfield for additional aircraft, terminals and facilities. As passenger travel will continue to grow there will be an eventual cap to be reached for both operations.

twister244 Aug 15, 2023 6:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 10014492)
I'm in agreement that it is short-sighted to outright say no to a south suburban airport, at least until we see a revised feasibility report and after soliciting cargo haulers if they would commit to it. Will County is becoming THE mid-America logistics hub because of the truly unique location as the terminus of two transcon rail companies with 100% international freight ports in Joliet and Elwood that are direct extensions to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as the north-south leg of Canadian National on the old IC trackage paralleling I-57. The three interstate highways of 55,57 and 80 coming together here also places this territory within a 1-day drive of 1/3 of the nation's GDP. Millions of square feet of warehouse space is being added every year in the far south-southwest suburban submarkets and millions more squared footage is approved. The Northpoint project alone will add over 30 million square feet immediately west of Manhattan. All of that land is now annexed to Joliet and is entailed for development, complete with it's own internal circulation system of truck roads. Elion 55 in Wilmington is another multi-modal industrial park with over 30 million square feet in development and direct access to both UP and BNSF.

Rail cargo is expected to double in the near future through these facilities and more warehouses are coming. I have actually flipped my position on the Illinia Expy because of it. We need road improvements for these additional trucks to circulate through this area and it would be best to put them on a toll road which the trucking companies would largely pay for rather than shouldering road upgrades and continued maintenance entirely on the public's dime, just as what happened to IL-47 upgrading to a divided highway anyway after the Prairie Parkway was officially cancelled.

When you look at all of these factors in the context of this immediate area's most likely continued growth scenarios, then yes a cargo airport connected to a new east-west toll road begins to make a lot of sense (on paper). Whether or not private industry also decides to jump on board is of course a different story.

Additionally, if hypothetically a cargo facility was built here, that could take some capacity pressure off of O'Hare and allow it to accommodate more passenger flights in the future. A true cargo airport is also huge, and a high capacity new facility really could not be accommodated at existing airports with the exception of Rockford, which is also expanding right now. The FedEx operations at Memphis for example are significantly larger than the passenger facilities, so while yes O'Hare could continue gradual phased expansion, there is only so much space on that airfield for additional aircraft, terminals and facilities. As passenger travel will continue to grow there will be an eventual cap to be reached for both operations.

Agree with 100% of this.

Via Chicago Aug 16, 2023 1:54 PM

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/airl...ehind-schedule

Quote:

With all his legendary gusto, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel in February 2018 announced a massive project critical to Chicago’s economic engine: An $8.5 billion expansion and modernization of O’Hare International Airport’s outmoded terminals, a step he declared would put the city at the heart of international air travel growth and come online by 2026.

Five and a half years of COVID, raging inflation and City Hall turmoil later, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way.

The big airport job has virtually vanished from the news. O’Hare traffic has been relatively slow to recover from COVID. There's been jostling between the city and its airline partners over spiraling costs, and construction on the first of three promised new terminals is not even scheduled to begin until the last half of 2024.

The latest projected date for completion on the project: 2032 — six years late.

The terminal revamp clearly has experienced a delayed, bumpy takeoff. Though not unusual in ambitious aviation projects — O’Hare’s tranche of new runways was delivered several years late — the question now is whether the Johnson administration and particularly Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee finally can get the program off the ground, even as modernization efforts at competing airports in New York and Los Angeles pick up momentum.

The project is only a little more than 30% designed. Discussions with the airlines, who fill foot the bill through landing fees and rent, are intensifying. Airlines and the city need to come to agreement on exactly what will get built, at what cost and when.


In an interview and tour of the airfield, Rhee shrugs off industry griping that the city has wasted years of time and points to crucial preliminary work that’s now well underway, if mostly unseen by the public.

For instance, two miles of pipe that runs from 108 inches to 144 inches wide to drain away stormwater and prevent the new terminals from being flooded. Or building a mile-long underground road allowing service vehicles to access gates without passing in front of taxiing jets. Or a recently opened 10-gate expansion of Terminal 5, the first at O’Hare in 30 years, which went smoothly and has breathed new life into that facility.

“I’ve had good meetings with airlines, and I’ve had bad meetings with airlines,” she says. “They have never wavered in their commitment to us, and we have never wavered on our commitment to them.”

But behind the scenes, cost pressures are building, industry sources say, raising questions about whether the centerpiece of the expansion — a dramatic, soaring new global terminal designed by Chicago starchitect Jeanne Gang — can be delivered for the budget the city has set or if the building will lose much of its luster.

“We’ve cut out the fat, and we’re now down to making decisions,” Rhee says. “I’ve heard (the airlines) loud and clear. They have said, ‘You’re not getting any more money than what we gave you in 2018” under the deal struck by the Emanuel administration.

Under that plan, the city will build two remote satellites off of the existing Concourse C in Terminal 1. Once they are completed, the half-century-old Terminal 2 will be demolished and replaced by Gang’s new global terminal, allowing O’Hare’s two big tenants, United and American airlines and their partners, to locate international operations close to their domestic flights, rather than having everyone fly into the existing Terminal 5. Overall, the amount of gate space would rise about 40%.


Originally pegged at a cost of $8.5 billion, construction was supposed to begin within a few years and the entire new operation was supposed to be done by 2026. The latest cost estimate is $12.1 billion, though officials say the latter figure includes some extra work — and they also note the $8.5 billion was in 2018 dollars.

Even so, the timetable and price tag likely were optimistic. The plan then “was largely conceptual,” says one O’Hare veteran who asks not to be named. “Now, we’re in the sausage-making.” And it’s messy.

Rhee immediately extended the timetable by two years, to 2028, when she came in as commissioner in late 2018. Then COVID hit, along with the highest inflation in decades, driving up the cost of construction. And the timetable slipped to 2030 and now 2032.

Another complication: The Federal Aviation Administration took years longer to sign off on the project than city officials had expected, with final approval not arriving until last November.

Possibly a bigger factor, however, was the disappearance of the sense of urgency to build.

One sign: A year ago at this time, when the city issued a $1.8 billion bond issue for O’Hare work, then-city Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett said she expected to float another bond issue of about the same size right now. But the city’s new CFO, Jill Jaworski, says there will be no further borrowing until at least early 2024. Expenditures have been slower than expected, she told Crain’s.

Why the slowdown? In part, the hard-driving Emanuel was replaced by Lori Lightfoot, who had other priorities. Another culprit: O’Hare’s business has not recovered as quickly as many other airports post-COVID.


According to a recent study by Moody’s Investors Service, in the 12 months through March 2023, O’Hare ranked in the bottom 10% of airfields, with enplanements — the number of people getting on and off a plane — just 83% of their pre-pandemic level. That’s well below Dallas-Fort Worth at 101%, New York-LaGuardia at 99%, Atlanta Hartsfield at 87%, and even Chicago Midway at 101% — though West Coast airports, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, that were heavily dependent on flights to Asia also are still way off their previous peak.

Emanuel failed to respond to request for comment.

Fitch Ratings Analyst Jeffrey Lack, who estimates airport costs are 10% or less of overall airline operating costs. “Relative to labor and fuel, it’s not going to impact their bottom line as much as those other costs,” he says.

Southwest Airlines CEO Robert Jordan shrugged off current projections that the terminal project will drive up costs per enplanement at O’Hare by one-third to about $40 per passengers. “The rate is not unmanageable, so it doesn’t bother me in the least,” he said at a Crain’s breakfast event Tuesday. “We’re supportive. Continued expansion at O’Hare is what provides us the ability to grow.”

Of course, Southwest, which runs most of its Chicago flights out of Midway, is a much smaller player at O’Hare than American and United. And the CEOs of both carriers have publicly embraced the terminal plan.

Still, the airlines are pushing hard behind the scenes to control costs. The most obvious target is the global terminal, which Emanuel wanted to be an architectural statement to the world. Gang’s initial concept for a terminal turned heads with the feel of journeying through a rainforest. Already there are rumors that cost considerations will result in something less eye-popping than Gang's original vision. Rhee won’t say much about that, commenting only that some big decisions are yet to be made and that Gang’s final design is “going to make Chicago proud.”

Going cheap would come at a cost.

“The airport is often the first impression someone gets when they come to a city. If the airport is dilapidated, it tells you people aren’t willing to invest in their infrastructure,” says P.J. Huizinga, managing principal of Huizinga Capital Management in Oak Brook. “You have one opportunity to do this every 50 or 75 years. They need to do it right, to spend the money wisely, not cheaply,” he says, pointing to the $8 billion makeover of New York’s LaGuardia International Airport. “The first thing I felt about LaGuardia was, ‘Wow!’ ”

Chicago may or may not get to “wow” later. At the moment, it just needs to get going — and, according to some airline executives, get on Johnson’s priority list. One troubling sign: The massive project, one of the biggest civic construction jobs in Chicago history, rated all of two sentences in Johnson’s 223-page transition report.


Rhee, a savvy bureaucrat who knows who signs her paycheck, says Johnson already is aboard. “Mayor Johnson has been an incredible force,” she says. “He recognizes the importance of O’Hare.”

Chicago’s future as an aviation hub may depend on that, because its peers aren’t waiting. New York’s John F. Kennedy International, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, Los Angeles International and Dallas-Fort Worth International all are in the midst of multibillion-dollar terminal projects. The JFK project alone is pegged at $13.7 billion.

Rhee says her expansion will be done on time and on budget by 2032. “We continue to work with our airline partners to move this project forward and secure the future of O’Hare.”

Via Chicago Aug 16, 2023 1:56 PM

Get ready for some good old fashioned value engineering!

twister244 Aug 16, 2023 2:37 PM

Man, there are a lot of depressing bits in that article......

Quote:

construction on the first of three promised new terminals is not even scheduled to begin until the last half of 2024
So, Does this mean the satellites won't even get off the ground until next year now? That's my take there is that the infrastructure work being done right now will spill way over into next year.

Quote:

Emanuel was replaced by Lori Lightfoot, who had other priorities
Quote:

The massive project, one of the biggest civic construction jobs in Chicago history, rated all of two sentences in Johnson’s 223-page transition report
This really pisses me off, and I am getting the impression Johnson isn't much better. Lori could have used the pandemic period to push for things to move forward. You could tell how much Lori cared about O'Hare when we started seeing homeless people camping out in the baggage claim areas earlier this year. And if Johnson starts to fall behind on this, I would hope Pritzker steps in and puts some pressure.

The other thing I am noticing here is how the different airlines are approaching this. As much as I hate Southwest, I'm happy to see them enthusiastic about their presence at O'Hare. I'm sure United feels the same way as they have grand plans of expansion with their massive wide body purchase. Hell, even Delta went in on a beautiful new lounge over in T5, which tells me they want to flex their muscles over in T5.

My worry here is AA - They seem to be slowly falling behind at O'Hare. Maybe that's because AA has company wide issues, maybe not. I see this as an opportunity for the other airlines to fill in some of these gaps (if they see an opportunity). Delta will be tough given they already have MSP and DTW in the region, but a merged Spirit/JetBlue could carry some of the slack, along with more Southwest flights.

Kngkyle Aug 17, 2023 12:39 AM

Just another reminder of what an excellent mayor Rahm was and what clowns his predecessors are.

Chicago Shawn Aug 21, 2023 5:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10013235)
As reported over at airliners.net by numerous forumers it seems that Runway 31R/13L is permanently closed.

This has led to conjecture that, given its closure, it may open up the possibility of expanding the A and B terminals. Theoretically, if that was done, each terminal could be further by approximately at least another 400 feet.

Just doing rough sketching seems that could add up to another 15-20 gates total.

Flew out of MDW on Thursday and took off parallel to this runway. Can confirm the markings have been stripped off and a big yellow X is painted onto the concrete surface. Not sure if that is standard procedure for a 'temporary' closure.

DePaul Bunyan Aug 31, 2023 7:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 10015175)
Man, there are a lot of depressing bits in that article......


My worry here is AA - They seem to be slowly falling behind at O'Hare. Maybe that's because AA has company wide issues, maybe not. I see this as an opportunity for the other airlines to fill in some of these gaps (if they see an opportunity). Delta will be tough given they already have MSP and DTW in the region, but a merged Spirit/JetBlue could carry some of the slack, along with more Southwest flights.

IMO AA has gotten behind the 8-ball with their widebody fleet. They retired all of their A330s too early during the pandemic and now are getting hosed by Boeing's 787 production problems. They're focusing on their hub airports where they're the dominant carrier (LAX, PHX, PHL, MIA, DFW, etc.) rather than try to compete with United's fortress hub at ORD. ORD is way too important to AA to abandon. I think once their widebody deliveries ramp up you'll see them increase operations at ORD.

EDIT: It's not just widebody aircraft, that's just an area in which AA is at an acute disadvantage, rather the entire industry is scrambling for capacity. The waitlists on the most popular aircraft stretch almost to 2030.

F1 Tommy Aug 31, 2023 9:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DePaul Bunyan (Post 10028038)
IMO AA has gotten behind the 8-ball with their widebody fleet. They retired all of their A330s too early during the pandemic and now are getting hosed by Boeing's 787 production problems. They're focusing on their hub airports where they're the dominant carrier (LAX, PHX, PHL, MIA, DFW, etc.) rather than try to compete with United's fortress hub at ORD. ORD is way too important to AA to abandon. I think once their widebody deliveries ramp up you'll see them increase operations at ORD.

EDIT: It's not just widebody aircraft, that's just an area in which AA is at an acute disadvantage, rather the entire industry is scrambling for capacity. The waitlists on the most popular aircraft stretch almost to 2030.

For most airlines it's a pilot shortage not an aircraft shortage. AA could get semi used widebody aircraft to use but don't have the crews to fly the extra aircraft yet.

UA also has pulled down ORD with Denver being the main domestic hub since 2020.

SamInTheLoop Aug 31, 2023 10:26 PM

^ The interview snippets in article below do point more to pilot supply and particularly around training on aircraft models:

https://simpleflying.com/american-no...ed-widebodies/

twister244 Sep 9, 2023 11:50 PM

So, apparently the Avianca news is official now, but not to Medellin or Bogota, but to Guatamala City. Also note, it's a seasonal route.

https://aviationweek.com/air-transpo...america-routes

Quote:

Starting Dec. 11, the airline will open 3X-weekly service between New York John F. Kennedy Airport and San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Starting Dec. 13, Avianca will launch 4X-weekly flights between Oakland, California and San Salvador, El Salvador. Also on that date, the carrier will begin 3X-weekly flights between Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Guatemala City, Guatemala.

twister244 Sep 13, 2023 5:42 PM

Flying out of C right now and managed to snap a couple pictures.

They are definitely working on the temporary gates, with one up (first two photos). Beyond that, there appears to be a crap ton of utility work to the West of C (third photo), along with ongoing work to the SE of C that has been occurring since last year (last photo). The gates at the end of C are still up and running, so it's probably going to be a little bit yet before the satellites break down, unless they are already working on the new independent satellite and just haven't announced yet, but i would have expected a groundbreaking.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...6cdc5f39_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...bf44b890_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...9c02f422_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...d179d985_c.jpg

wchicity Sep 14, 2023 5:12 AM

I was under the impression that the further satellite was going to be constructed first, so I'm sort of surprised to see them already putting the temp gates on C.

twister244 Sep 14, 2023 3:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wchicity (Post 10038006)
I was under the impression that the further satellite was going to be constructed first, so I'm sort of surprised to see them already putting the temp gates on C.

Those temporary gates are meant to offset the few gates they need to close at the Southern end of C in order to build out the new satellite that will be connected to C.

twister244 Sep 22, 2023 3:41 PM

So, here's an interesting tidbit that showed up on my feed.....

https://worldairlinenews.com/2023/09...d-the-world-2/

Quote:

United Airlines to launch new direct flights from Chicago to Johannesburg, South Africa. The flights will start in March 2024 and will be the first direct flights from Chicago to Johannesburg offered by a US airline.
I don't see an official United page declaring this, so I always take these things with a grain of salt. But if that's true, that would be pretty cool.

DePaul Bunyan Sep 23, 2023 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 10044140)
So, here's an interesting tidbit that showed up on my feed.....

https://worldairlinenews.com/2023/09...d-the-world-2/



I don't see an official United page declaring this, so I always take these things with a grain of salt. But if that's true, that would be pretty cool.

https://liveandletsfly.com/united-ai...frica-chicago/

Makes sense, I don't think there's quite enough demand for ORD-JNB direct when there's already EWR-JNB. It would likely also cost too much more to be worth not having a connection, as the seat cost per mile dramatically increases as you reach the upper end of an aircraft's range.

twister244 Sep 24, 2023 5:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DePaul Bunyan (Post 10045080)
https://liveandletsfly.com/united-ai...frica-chicago/

Makes sense, I don't think there's quite enough demand for ORD-JNB direct when there's already EWR-JNB. It would likely also cost too much more to be worth not having a connection, as the seat cost per mile dramatically increases as you reach the upper end of an aircraft's range.

Damn, this is why I took that site with a grain of salt. Sad to hear the rumors are just...... rumors.

Chicagoguy Sep 29, 2023 3:34 PM

Cathay Pacific To Return To Chicago With Airbus A350-1000
Cathay Pacific is returning to Chicago O'Hare International Airport after a three-year absence, signaling a major step forward for the airline as it continues to recover.

“ From October 3, Cathay Pacific will fly three times weekly to Chicago, deploying its Airbus A350-1000s on the 7,793-mile route. Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The flight from Hong Kong will operate as CX806, while the flight from Chicago will be CX807. CX806 will depart Hong Kong International Airport at 12:30 and arrive in Chicago at 14:25. CX807 will leave Chicago at 16:05 and land in Hong Kong at 20:45 the following day.”

https://simpleflying.com/cathay-paci...bus-a350-1000/

twister244 Sep 29, 2023 4:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicagoguy (Post 10049401)
Cathay Pacific To Return To Chicago With Airbus A350-1000
Cathay Pacific is returning to Chicago O'Hare International Airport after a three-year absence, signaling a major step forward for the airline as it continues to recover.

“ From October 3, Cathay Pacific will fly three times weekly to Chicago, deploying its Airbus A350-1000s on the 7,793-mile route. Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The flight from Hong Kong will operate as CX806, while the flight from Chicago will be CX807. CX806 will depart Hong Kong International Airport at 12:30 and arrive in Chicago at 14:25. CX807 will leave Chicago at 16:05 and land in Hong Kong at 20:45 the following day.”

https://simpleflying.com/cathay-paci...bus-a350-1000/

Nice! Great to see a long-route returning from pre-Covid days.

In other news - Midway is getting a..... Lounge?

https://www.airliners.net/forum/view...c44&start=1150

I don't fly out of Midway, but that's cool there will be an option for flyers now. Fun note - It will be accessible to those who have a Priority Pass.

kbud Oct 2, 2023 12:22 AM

BA moving to T3?
 
Two interesting things happened to me last week at O’Hare.

1) I spoke to the British Airways lounge desk agent.  She shared with me that British Airways is working with American Airlines to move their departure operation to T3.  Their hope is to have this complete when they begin their third daily nonstop from ORD to LHR. If this is accurate, it would mean the end of the A380 service to O’Hare by BA.. Thoughts? Would they just use American’s clubs? Would they have any interest in building out a small first class lounge at the end of T3 by K19 where American once had an int’l first class club?
2) I was able to enter T5 security with only my American Airlines boarding pass to Nashville which left from T3.  This was great for me as I’m rarely in the departure side of T5 as I’m you usually just arriving on international flights at T5.  I was able to see firsthand the expansion.

jonesrmj Oct 2, 2023 7:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kbud (Post 10050758)
I spoke to the British Airways lounge desk agent.  She shared with me that British Airways is working with American Airlines to move their departure operation to T3.  Their hope is to have this complete when they begin their third daily nonstop from ORD to LHR. If this is accurate, it would mean the end of the A380 service to O’Hare by BA.. Thoughts? Would they just use American’s clubs? Would they have any interest in building out a small first class lounge at the end of T3 by K19 where American once had an int’l first class club?

I wonder if there's any change that Emirates or another airline would use the A380 gate at T5 if BA no longer uses it. Does Chicago not get much international traffic compared to other US airports. I find it surprising that cities like Boston, DC, and San Francisco have more A380 service than Chicago.

twister244 Oct 2, 2023 7:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonesrmj (Post 10051118)
I wonder if there's any change that Emirates or another airline would use the A380 gate at T5 if BA no longer uses it. Does Chicago not get much international traffic compared to other US airports. I find it surprising that cities like Boston, DC, and San Francisco have more A380 service than Chicago.

Emirates would be a great replacement... But there are other airlines that fly the A380. Qatar Airways has a great 380 product, along with Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Qantas, and Singapore.

Honestly, I would prefer to see Qantas or Singapore break into ORD with an A380 as opposed to Emirates since they are already here.

kbud Oct 2, 2023 10:09 PM

There was supposed to be an additional A380 capable gate at T5 with the expansion that just completed. The only airline that realistically could send an A380 to ORD would be Emirates. Qatar stopped their 2nd ORD flight awhile ago now and I don’t believe they fly the A380 to anywhere in NA. The same goes with Etihad. It’s way too much airplane for Korean, and it doesn't have the range for Qantas and way too much plane too. I guess Lufthansa could but T1 isn’t equipped for the A380.

Now this might be a pipe dream, but using an aerial view of ORD it appears to me that K16 could be configured to handle the A380. i took the footprint of the T5 A380 gate and dropped it on K16. Obviously a very crude approach...

I was excited by the news that British Airways may be planning to move to T3. The K/H concourses can handle all the BA planes with the exception of the A380. I would imagine the A35K can fit at gates that can accommodate the 77W. K19 handles the 77W, but can K12 and K16 accommodate the 77W? But come to think of it, I wonder which gates can handle the 78X? I believe the gates below are the ones in H/K that can handle wide bodies. Feel free to correct me or add to it.
- K19:788/789/772/77W/A330/A346
- K16:788/789/772/A330/A346
- K15: 788/789/772
- K13: 788/789/772
- K12: 788/789/772
- K9: 788/789/772
- K5: ?
- H15:788/789/772

Chicagoguy Oct 6, 2023 10:45 PM

LOT Polish Airlines Opening Chicago Lounge In 2024

“ LOT Polish Airlines has announced plans to open a lounge at Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) in the second half of 2024. The lounge will be located in Terminal 5, which is the airport’s primary international terminal. The lounge is expected to be 617 square meters (6,642 square feet) and should feature modern design, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows.

This will be LOT’s first lounge outside of Poland. Chicago is a logical airport for such a lounge, since it’s the carrier’s largest outstation — LOT has service to both Krakow (KRK) and Warsaw (WAW) out of Chicago, with the latter route typically having two daily frequencies.“

https://onemileatatime.com/news/lot-...ounge-chicago/

jonesrmj Oct 8, 2023 2:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicagoguy (Post 10054651)
LOT Polish Airlines Opening Chicago Lounge In 2024

“ LOT Polish Airlines has announced plans to open a lounge at Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) in the second half of 2024. The lounge will be located in Terminal 5, which is the airport’s primary international terminal. The lounge is expected to be 617 square meters (6,642 square feet) and should feature modern design, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows.

This will be LOT’s first lounge outside of Poland. Chicago is a logical airport for such a lounge, since it’s the carrier’s largest outstation — LOT has service to both Krakow (KRK) and Warsaw (WAW) out of Chicago, with the latter route typically having two daily frequencies.“

https://onemileatatime.com/news/lot-...ounge-chicago/

Interesting, I would've thought they would've waited for the Global Terminal to be completed and then open a lounge there since they are part of the Star Alliance which will move to the Global Terminal when it completes.

twister244 Oct 8, 2023 7:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonesrmj (Post 10055191)
Interesting, I would've thought they would've waited for the Global Terminal to be completed and then open a lounge there since they are part of the Star Alliance which will move to the Global Terminal when it completes.

I'm kinda surprised as well....... I would imagine any OW/SA members to wait until OGT is complete to add any new lounges, unless they are ok with spending money on a lounge they only plan on using for 5-10 years.

kbud Oct 9, 2023 7:11 PM

I am not totally surprised as the revamped T2 is probably 7 years away from being done, and with SAS leaving Star, this is probably mandatory for Star Members beyond just LOT. In the renderings I saw it shows it has windows to the airfield. I don't know where this will be located.
- Is there a similar space opposite of the Delta Lounge between M17 and M18? The Delta lounge is over 20K sq. feet and the article says that the LOT lounge will be just over 6K sq. feet.
- Per my earlier post, there is a chance that British Airways is moving to T3 which would open up their lounge space at ORD too.
- Many airline publications rate Swissport's T5 lounge as the worst airline lounge in the US and Emirates, Etihad, and others use it.
- Part of the justification of the expanded T5 was that it did not have enough lounge space and that it would house an additional two lounges. I guess that would be Delta and LOT. The Air France lounge is now gone and those passengers all use the Delta lounge so I don't know if that counts as "additional."
- I would anticipate that: 1) This new LOT lounge houses LOT and other T5 Star Airlines. 2) Another lounge being announced that would house the One World T5 carriers if BA is truly going to T3. I can't imagine Cathay using the Swissport lounge. This lounge could include Finnair, Qatar, Cathay, Royal Jordanian, Aer Lingus, etc.
- Additional questions/thoughts: 1) Would Emirates ever have their own lounge? They do in other US stations (i.e. - Boston) and the SAS lounge would probably cease and SAS would use the Delta Lounge. 2) What about Turkish? They have two daily ORD flights and they have their own lounge in other US stations (Miami and Washington). 3) How about Etihad?

lakeshoredrive Oct 10, 2023 1:38 AM

flew out and arrived back at midway this weekend. it's still a sh***y airport lol but the new TSA area is pretty nice and helped make going through it fairly quickly

Kngkyle Oct 11, 2023 2:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonesrmj (Post 10055191)
Interesting, I would've thought they would've waited for the Global Terminal to be completed and then open a lounge there since they are part of the Star Alliance which will move to the Global Terminal when it completes.

Considering the OGT is already delayed by years I think LOT is making a pretty safe bet here. By the time OGT is done that lounge will be outdated and ready for a refresh anyway. It's also unclear whether ALL Star Alliance carriers will fit at the OGT.. and out of all the Star carriers LOT makes the most sense to keep over at T5 given they have an outsized amount of local Chicago traffic instead of connecting. I wonder this if LOT will continue to expand operations at ORD given this new investment. I believe they once served Katowice from Chicago.

twister244 Oct 11, 2023 8:31 PM

ITA coming back to O'Hare next April with service to Rome.

https://businesstravelerusa.com/news...-toronto-2024/

kbud Nov 16, 2023 4:20 PM

American T3's Future at ORD
 
ORD 21 is squarely targeted to replace T2 and offer a new home for United/Star and American/OW international carriers to consolidate operations. When complete all of UA operations at ORD will be much nicer than all of American's operations at ORD. It has been no secret that American has been scaling back ORD domestically and internationally but they have not hinted at all about closing the ORD hub. So if United has a better domestic and international route network at ORD, more frequencies at ORD, better terminal facilities, and a better onboard product then how will American be able to compete at ORD? They are not a LCC.

Does anyone think they'll try to redo T3 or add another satellite concourse to temporarily house their operations while T3 is torn down? I think the only hub for American with worse facilities than ORD is Philadelphia.

Slooper Nov 16, 2023 4:39 PM

I flew one of the returning hkg > ord cathay flights first week of october. Nice having a china direct.

twister244 Nov 16, 2023 9:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kbud (Post 10082318)
ORD 21 is squarely targeted to replace T2 and offer a new home for United/Star and American/OW international carriers to consolidate operations. When complete all of UA operations at ORD will be much nicer than all of American's operations at ORD. It has been no secret that American has been scaling back ORD domestically and internationally but they have not hinted at all about closing the ORD hub. So if United has a better domestic and international route network at ORD, more frequencies at ORD, better terminal facilities, and a better onboard product then how will American be able to compete at ORD? They are not a LCC.

Does anyone think they'll try to redo T3 or add another satellite concourse to temporarily house their operations while T3 is torn down? I think the only hub for American with worse facilities than ORD is Philadelphia.

I mean...... It's a question of: Is American suffering more broadly which reflects their lack of expansion at O'Hare? Or..... Is this because of the very nature of the expansion?

If you look at the outcome of this expansion, AA isn't getting much here. Yes, they will have some new gates in the OGT for international departures, but it's a terminal that will be shared with Star Alliance and other OW partners. Meanwhile, Delta has a nice comfy home over in T5 where they have a really nice new lounge. Shit, even SouthWest has access to the shiny new wing of T5.

Besides the few gates they will operate out of in the OGT, they are getting the handful of L stinger gates built in 2018, and the few additional ones being squeezed in right now.

If I were AA, I would just maintain current lines and adapt when needed for market conditions. Maybe sometime down the road if they see a need for massive expansion to meet UA, they could try to get in on a new satellite or two West of the new satellites about to be built. In the process, they could put flights over there while T3 is redone to be a beautiful new AA terminal. But that would be a long long long time from now.

The risk I see for AA here is a cycle where Chicago fliers who want to get in on miles/alliance perks will start gravitating away from AA to UA. Shit, I'm one of them..... I have a Chase card, which makes taking advantage of UA miles easy, but even if I didn't have that, I see all of this expansion UA is going to get at O'Hare, and it makes me want to work towards status with them given they have more lounges, and will most likely have even nicer ones once the satellites and OGT is finished.

So.... In the short term, AA probably will do what they need to do to keep a presence and gates, but it's a strategy that could start to become a problem if they don't retain flyers.

Kngkyle Nov 16, 2023 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kbud (Post 10082318)
ORD 21 is squarely targeted to replace T2 and offer a new home for United/Star and American/OW international carriers to consolidate operations. When complete all of UA operations at ORD will be much nicer than all of American's operations at ORD. It has been no secret that American has been scaling back ORD domestically and internationally but they have not hinted at all about closing the ORD hub. So if United has a better domestic and international route network at ORD, more frequencies at ORD, better terminal facilities, and a better onboard product then how will American be able to compete at ORD? They are not a LCC.

Does anyone think they'll try to redo T3 or add another satellite concourse to temporarily house their operations while T3 is torn down? I think the only hub for American with worse facilities than ORD is Philadelphia.

There was an article in Crains last month that talked about some of American's plans at ORD. I see that it never got posted so here are some snippets.

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/airl...vice-next-year

Quote:

American Airlines will dial up O'Hare service next year
By John Pletz

...

American, the second-largest carrier at O’Hare, says it's scheduled to fly 10% more seats in April 2024 than it did during the same month this year. With the launch of daily service from Chicago to Venice next summer, American says that it will have the same number of international destinations as it did before the COVID pandemic.

Vasu Raja, American’s chief commercial officer, told analysts last week during the carrier’s third-quarter earnings call that “we actually see a lot of opportunities to go and grow . . . Philadelphia and Chicago specifically.”

As pandemic-era travel restrictions eased, American focused its resources elsewhere. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier is forecast to finish this year with 30% less capacity at O'Hare, based on seats, than it had in 2019, according to aviation-research firm OAG. Chicago-based United, O’Hare’s largest carrier, will have just 8% less capacity this year.

...

“A lot of O’Hare’s business was consultants moving in and out of Chicago, doing day trips and single overnights to the city," Znotins said. "That type of traffic has been the slowest to rebound, and it may never rebound to where it was in 2019. That’s one of the reasons we have O’Hare a little bit slower to recover than the rest of our system.”

Even still, if they're down 30% from 2019 and growing by 10% next year... they're still down a lot. They are citing weak business demand as the cause, which might make some sense? I think pre-COVID American, even though they were smaller than United in terms of total passengers, actually had more O&D passengers than United (those are passengers actually flying to/from Chicago not just connecting through). I would imagine United beats them by that metric now as well.

United apparently didn't want to be left out of the news cycle, so shortly after that story there was another Crain's article about United.

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/airl...tional-airport

Quote:

United is adding flights, seats to O'Hare this winter
By John Pletz

United Airlines plans to increase its flying in and out of O’Hare International Airport this winter, adding capacity with larger planes and more flights on domestic routes.

The Chicago-based carrier says its domestic capacity will be up 7% at O’Hare from November through March.

Coupled with a planned increase of 10% in the spring by American Airlines, which is the second-largest carrier at O’Hare behind United, it would go a long way toward getting the airport back to pre-pandemic traffic levels.

The economic engine for Chicago has lagged other U.S. airports in recovering from the travel slump brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. O’Hare’s passenger volume is about 14% below 2019 levels. United is doubling down on leisure travel, but what O'Hare really needs is a recovery in business travel, which has been slow to rebound.

Much of United’s focus this winter is vacation travel, especially to Florida. It’s nearly doubling the amount of seats between Key West and hubs such as O’Hare, Dulles, George Bush Intercontinental and Newark Liberty airports. The airline is adding flights between Chicago, Fort Myers and Miami.

United is flying larger aircraft on many of the routes, such as Chicago and Orlando, where it will use the Boeing 777, its largest aircraft.

kbud Nov 17, 2023 3:47 PM

American vs United at ORD
 
So when O’Hare 21 is complete United and American, along with their alliance partners, should be on par for their international facilities at O’Hare. United then will have another satellite which will be brand new to house the majority of their regional flights and some narrowbody flights. The B and C concourses will house everything else. B and C have much nicer facilities than H and K, and I would assume the new satellite will be much better than Americans’s G and L concourses.

I’m an American executive platinum and have been for 8 years and it makes me so frustrated that their facilities are so poor, the frequency options are getting worse from O’Hare every month, the airport and onboard service itself is atrocious, and the international nonstop destinations from O’Hare has been shrinking for a couple of decades. Shame on me for being bought into their frequent flyer program. I need to switch to United.

k1052 Nov 17, 2023 4:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kbud (Post 10083086)
So when O’Hare 21 is complete United and American, along with their alliance partners, should be on par for their international facilities at O’Hare. United then will have another satellite which will be brand new to house the majority of their regional flights and some narrowbody flights. The B and C concourses will house everything else. B and C have much nicer facilities than H and K, and I would assume the new satellite will be much better than Americans’s G and L concourses.

I’m an American executive platinum and have been for 8 years and it makes me so frustrated that their facilities are so poor, the frequency options are getting worse from O’Hare every month, the airport and onboard service itself is atrocious, and the international nonstop destinations from O’Hare has been shrinking for a couple of decades. Shame on me for being bought into their frequent flyer program. I need to switch to United.

AA's priorities are fairly clear and with the decline in biz travel and the many east coast hubs (post US Airways merger) ORD is a less attractive market for them. They can't abandon it but it's not going to be like it was. If I was still Chicago based I regret that I would probably have switched over to UA by now after 15 years as an AA elite.

Kngkyle Nov 17, 2023 4:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kbud (Post 10083086)
So when O’Hare 21 is complete United and American, along with their alliance partners, should be on par for their international facilities at O’Hare. United then will have another satellite which will be brand new to house the majority of their regional flights and some narrowbody flights. The B and C concourses will house everything else. B and C have much nicer facilities than H and K, and I would assume the new satellite will be much better than Americans’s G and L concourses.

I’m an American executive platinum and have been for 8 years and it makes me so frustrated that their facilities are so poor, the frequency options are getting worse from O’Hare every month, the airport and onboard service itself is atrocious, and the international nonstop destinations from O’Hare has been shrinking for a couple of decades. Shame on me for being bought into their frequent flyer program. I need to switch to United.

I believe there is money in the deal to refurbish both T1 and T3. I'm not sure to what extent though, and T1 certainly has more potential with its high ceilings and unique architecture. It's already improved quite a bit in the past couple years with the new roof/glass facade, new seating areas, bathrooms, and lounge.

The plan was for the number of gates to stay largely the same for each airline. Yea, United gets a fancy new satellite concourse to itself but that's to replace the gates they're losing at T2. American isn't losing anything during the construction so they aren't gaining much either. I don't know for sure but I'd imagine United is paying more for this whole deal too?

Roy_Batty Nov 18, 2023 1:37 AM

I’m sharing a video I took last month of the new T5 expansion and the older part of the terminal:

https://youtu.be/tls1UNeULDA?feature=shared


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