Chicago Department of Aviation

What is O'Hare 21?


O’Hare 21 is Chicago's vision for a modern airport that will be an efficient and accessible international gateway to the world and Chicago – transforming the traveler experience from curb to gate. Once completed, O’Hare 21 will have transformed O’Hare into a premier international hub that has been designed to meet the evolving needs of the traveling public through the 21st century and beyond.

This $8.5 billion project will also be a model of inclusiveness and transparency, creating an unprecedented opportunity for local participation by minority, women, disabled, veteran, returning citizens and LGBTQIA businesses by offering incentives to local Chicago-based companies in the city’s 77 neighborhoods. As an economic engine for the City of Chicago, the region and the state, this project in the end will create nearly 22,000 design and construction jobs.

O’Hare 21 is a multi-dimensional, multi-phased umbrella for the long-term vision for O’Hare and includes:

  • The Terminal Area Plan (TAP)—which includes both the O’Hare Global Terminal and the two Satellite Concourses
  • Completion of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) major airfield projects
    • Runway 9C-27C
    • Runway 9R-27L extension
  • Terminal 5 Concourse M gate expansion
  • Terminal 3 Concourse L expansion
  • Central deicing pad
  • On-airport hotel developments
  • Northeast cargo development
  • 15-Year O’Hare Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
  • Modernized Airport Transit System
  • Multi-Modal Facility
  • Various enabling and associated projects associated with the above

O’Hare 21 is supported by the City of Chicago as well as our airline partners, and is based on careful review of coordinating a construction program that will impose the least possible impact to the traveling public, our existing operations, as well as the surrounding communities.

Mitigating any potential impacts to passengers and stakeholders is a key objective of the O’Hare 21 program. The construction is sequenced to complete the satellite concourses first and then move activity from existing Terminal 2 to the newly constructed concourses.

Once the majority of Terminal 2 can be vacated construction will commence on the O’Hare Global Terminal to minimize the interaction of passengers with the construction program. The construction on the airfield will be sequenced in multiple phases to minimize the impacts and delays to aircraft taxiing times from runway to gate.