Chicago Department of Aviation

Here's What's Happening


ORD21 projects and improvements include so much more than the new Global Terminal. From updated concessions to the modernized Airport Transit System (ATS), O’Hare is constantly evolving.

These ongoing ORD21 projects will improve the passenger experience through:

  • Expanded travel options resulting from increased gate capacity and airline competition
  • Reduction in security wait times due to new security screening checkpoints that integrate the latest screening technology
  • Replacement of baggage handling systems that improve screening and sorting of passenger baggage Reduction in airfield congestion and ground delay resulting from lack of aircraft parking positions

Here’s a brief look at what’s happening now at the new O’Hare:

Terminal 5 Expansion and Modernization
Terminal 5 extension west view

O’Hare 21 calls for significant improvements to Terminal 5 by extending Concourse M to the east and adding ten new gates. The $1.2 billion expansion will make way for new passenger amenities, airline lounges, concessions spaces, and the capacity to serve more travelers more comfortably. Terminal 5’s enhancements, designed by Muller & Muller, maintain the integrity of the terminal’s original architecture. The Terminal 5 expansion groundbreaking took place in March 2019 and the first completed features will be done in 2021.

These improvements include:

  • 25 percent more gate capacity to improve efficiency and reduce delays
  • Growing the total building area by approximately 350,000 square feet
  • Transforming Terminal 5 into a mixed domestic and international arrivals terminal for use by foreign as well as domestic carriers, including a permanent home for Delta and the Sky Team Alliance
  • 70 percent increase in premium passenger airline lounge space
  • 15 new concessions brands, which will elevate dining and shopping
  • Expanding the security screening checkpoint and consolidating customs to process passengers from a single, streamlined location
  • Enlarging, reconfiguring, and refurbishing interior spaces and integrating new furniture and new technology throughout the facility

Additional future improvements include:

  • Replacing 25-year-old baggage handling with a new state-of-the-art system, with baggage ID
  • A new parking garage to replace existing surface parking, which will yield 1,600 additional spaces adjacent to the terminal building
  • Multiple roadway enhancements to increase lanes and alleviate traffic bottleneck to and from O’Hare
  • Expanded curbside area to enhance drop off and to help passengers more easily traverse between Terminals 1, 2, 3

After a groundbreaking in March 2019, the Terminal 5 extended concourse is expected to be completed in early 2021; new concessions and lounges are expected to open in late 2021; and the new baggage handling system will come online by the end of 2022.


Modernized Airport Transit System
The Airport Transit System (ATS) is a quick and convenient way to get around O'Hare International Airport. An overall modernization to the ATS is underway to upgrade technology and enhance performance of the existing 25-year-old system. These improvements include the addition of a larger new fleet of cars that will double capacity of the system, providing passengers a faster and more streamlined connection throughout the airport. In the next year, the recently opened Multi-Modal Facility (MMF) will incorporate an extension of the ATS to service a new train station on the second floor of the building.

An expanded and modernized ATS will benefit O'Hare travelers moving between the terminals, economy parking lots and the new MMF. The new system is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2019.