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O’Hare expansions take flight

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Art by Joanne Jun

Art by Joanne Jun

Art by Joanne Jun

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Over 78 million people traveled through O’Hare airport, making it the sixth busiest airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States as of 2016. With millions of passengers going through, terminals need to be updated and expanded. A new expansion is going to cost 8.5 billion dollars and will be the largest plan for O’Hare since its construction in the 1940s.

Originally there were six different plans that were proposed, each adding gates, concourses and updating some of the existing terminals. The final plans for O’Hare consist of new concourses, new gates and a renovated global terminal. Between the concourses there will be underground pedestrian tunnels similar to the ones that already exist for international airports. A total of 3.1 million square feet of terminal will be added and there will be a total of 220 gates, 35 more than right now.

Though more terminals are being added for each airline, American Airlines feels they are not getting enough compared to United Airlines. United Airlines proposed five more gates over a year before their competitor also proposed five more gates, each believing the other is trying to restrict its growth. Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended the current plans by explaining he is not picking one airline over any other airline.

It is expected to be finished within eight years in 2026. The airport has not been renovated or updated in a long time, and mixed feeling have arisen in regards to the issue.

“It will be good that they are expanding O’Hare because there will be more business; but on the downside, there will be more air traffic and pollution and Chicago will become more crowded,” said sophomore Nick Yustin.

“This is bad for the people that live around in the area; there will be extra noise and their property values will go way down,” said math teacher Mr. Matthew Hynek.

When renovations are completed, O’Hare will be competing to be even higher on the list of busiest airports in the world and inviting more people to come and visit the city of Chicago.

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O’Hare expansions take flight