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

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/


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