Runway 9C/27C was the final new-build runway of the 16-year, $6 billion
O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), which transformed the O’Hare airfield into a modern, parallel configuration, reducing delays and literally paving the way for future terminal development.
Opened in 2020, the two-mile long runway cost just over $1 billion, covered through a combination of federal airport improvement grants and airline-backed bonds. In early 2016, the City and the signatory airlines agreed to increase OMP’s funding to include this and several other critical airfield projects, for a total price tag of $1.3 billion. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also pledged significant funds to make this project a reality.
Construction of Runway 9C/27C accounted for 2,700 jobs out of the tens of thousands of construction and professional service jobs created over the course of the broader OMP project.
The 2.13-mile-long, 200-foot-wide airstrip is O’Hare’s second-longest runway, and helps provide balance between flight activity using the north and south airfields as well as noise exposure among communities to the east and west of O’Hare.
The construction of this runway required the relocation of a Chicago Fire Department Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility, several ground equipment maintenance facilities, and two large aircraft hangars, as well as a large airline employee parking lot. Many of these facilities dated from O’Hare’s early days as a commercial service airport in the 1950s and 1960s.
Since the beginning of the OMP, system impact delays at O’Hare – which are the
controllable delays to aircraft that are a result of infrastructure constraints in the national system – have been reduced by 64% when comparing 2003 to 2008 to 2009 to 2020.
was commissioned on Nov. 5, 2020, as the Chicago Department of Aviation’s first-ever virtual runway commissioning during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. View the virtual commissioning video below, along with video messages from Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee, and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.