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ORD Terminal Expansion/Addition  
User currently offlineIcelandairMSP From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 122 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 6872 times:

Google Earth just uploaded images of ORD from March and it's quite apparent how quickly they're moving now on the new runways/extensions. Since these are a top priority for the moment, I still figured I'd take a look at the 2002 Master Plan and see what terminal changes were being considered.

The additions (per 2002 Plan) would be:

Terminal 4: 18 WB gate terminal with FIS extending north from Terminal 3, removing Concourse L.

Terminal 6: 16 WB gate terminal due east of Terminal 5 and approximately a mirror image of Terminal 5.

West Terminal: 45 gate midfield satellite connected with people mover to Terminal 2, later a landside 15 gate complex with new arrival/departure facilities.

I'm curious because, and please correct me if I'm wrong, there seems to be a shortage of gates at ORD. When VX and B6 entered, it seemed as if the struggle was less for slots and more for adequate space to launch a full operation. So even if they don't build ALL the terminal facilities proposed above, I'm curious how they might be planning on changing things around the terminals.

My questions are:

The 2002 Plan calls for a LOT of WB gates. Was this still a time when lots of 767s were flying domestic?

Is Terminal 5 approaching any sort of threshold where a new Int'l terminal will be necessary? Given that these are non-UA/AA airlines, will there ever be that much growth to warrant doubling the capacity with Terminal 6?

Terminal 4 looks to be posed as more of an Int'l terminal for AA to complement Terminal 3. Given AA's situation, would that ever be in the cards? If they lose Concourse L, would it be worth having a Terminal 4 of NB gates or would there not really be any gain/loss of capacity?

With the West complex, I understand neither UA nor AA really want this. There's no way UA is moving from T1 and AA loses quite a bit of space even if they fully buildout the West complex. But even if just the satellite were built, would it be particularly useful for any airline?

How much more terminal space does ORD really need? Maybe just another 20 or so NB gates?

Airport terminals fascinate me, but particularly constrained situations like ORD or JFK I find more fascinating. Thus, I figure it's worth asking from people who know more about the gate and growth situation at ORD are like.

34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAAplat4life From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 6624 times:

Way back when, both AA and UA wanted their own international arrival gates adjacent to their own terminals (T-3 for AA and T1 and part of T2 for UA). Now they do not want to make the investments, and frankly they do pretty good in moving passenger traffic around ORD. It could always be better.

AA appears to have a lot more constraints right now, even though with AE it controls about 65 gates at ORD. Since it is not interested right now in increasing international flights at ORD to any significant degree, it can argue everything is fine. However, as other international carriers continue to increase operations at ORD--and the City of Chicago has been encouraging this--both AA and UA may find that arrivals are going to get every tighter at T5 at some point.

If there was a combination between US and AA things would not change all that much. Obviously, US flights would move over to T3, but AA has enough gates to handle the three routes at issue: ORD to PHL, PHX and CLT. I don't think that US even flies ORD-DCA nonstop. These current routes could be handled with larger aircraft (AE pretty much handles PHL and CLT), and some gates would open up in T2. This could help to make some room for B6, VX and AS to mve out of T3 and make way for replacing the L Concourse. AA uses about 4 or 5 gates in L as well, so it would have to make some adjustments. It has access to a few gates in T3 right now that it uses for other space.

So based on this, do I think that the City will go forward with its plans to build more terminal space at ORD? Mayor Emanual is pretty aggessive at times, so I think the answer is yes. If AA does not want to play along, he won't let that stop him.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 6579 times:

I think the recession of 2008, and the potential recession that we face again for the next few years, could very easily derail any major expansion plans such as this. Chicago city leadership being what it is, who knows- they may level ORD next week and build a new airport twice as large. (Remember Meigs Field?)

But with UA making Houston their largest hub, and AA in the throes of trying to figure out which way is up, I really hope that sense will prevail.

And, in my opinion, I don't think the issue is the actual number of gates, per se. I think the problem is that, like many other hubs, both UA and AA sit on a large number of gates that they could do without, for the sake of protecting turf. I've not seen every gate filled during most of my transits through O'Hare, though I expect it does happen. But, they can de-peak the hub, as they did about ten years ago, and create a more efficient operation.

Just my two pence.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22718 posts, RR: 20
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6511 times:

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 2):
Chicago city leadership being what it is, who knows- they may level ORD next week and build a new airport twice as large. (Remember Meigs Field?)

Plenty of people are upset about CGX, and rightly so, but I don't think that has any place in this discussion. The City has traditionally been pretty pro-growth at MDW and ORD, often more than the carriers want.



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User currently offlineZBA2CGX From Canada, joined Mar 2006, 90 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6258 times:

I don't think you will see any movement on the Terminals and Gates until all the work on the airfield has been completed. I finishing the work on 10R/28L and 10C/28C is their top priority. Then getting 9C/27C started is probably next.

Once the airfield is well on it's way to being completed, I think you might see some movement on the Terminals. Who knows, you might have an empty or partially filled Terminal 3 the way things are going for AA at the moment.
When are the leases up for Terminals 2 & 3? It would be interesting to see if Dept of Aviation pushes really hard for common use gates in order to improve utilization.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5167 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6153 times:

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 1):
AA appears to have a lot more constraints right now, even though with AE it controls about 65 gates at ORD. Since it is not interested right now in increasing international flights at ORD to any significant degree, it can argue everything is fine.

I was talking to an Eagle pilot recently, and he's heard that ORD will be the last crew base to get the 787. Now, that was based on scuddlebutt going back to before the Chapter 11 filing. With a favorable contract for all pilots and a better mix or aircraft, ORD could see international growth. But, that is all speculation.

You also have to remember the basis for the western terminal, suburban politics. Chicago wanted to get the suburbs to stop with the various law suits. Getting a western terminal and putting in a connector around the south end of ORD, between I-294 and I-90 was what caused several suburbs to drop opposition to expansion.

The problem with a western terminal is connection. One of the local TV stations found a memo several years ago that indicated that the connection between the western terminal and the current terminals was to be a bus running on Route 83, Thorndale Road, and Mannheim Road. That would be a nightmare for people connecting, because traffic can be very unpredictable. A 15-minute trip early on a Sunday could be 45 minutes during weekday evening rush, especially if there is an accident.

But, the cost of extending the rail line that connects Terminals 1-5 and remote parking would be extremely expensive, because it would require a tunnel that goes under ramps around T1 and the taxiways near T1 (and possibly 14R-32L, depending on how long it remains in service).


User currently offlineZBA2CGX From Canada, joined Mar 2006, 90 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6106 times:

Quoting ckfred (Reply 5):
A 15-minute trip early on a Sunday could be 45 minutes during weekday evening rush, especially if there is an accident.

I would feel very sorry for anybody having to connect then. Connecting between T5 and the rest of the other Terminals is bad enough. I would probably just have an airside connection between the Terminal West and the T1,2,3 and future 4. If they need to get to the remote parking lots, they can take the existing train. Besides, there will probably be remote parking on the west side eventually.

I can't see the Blue line being extended either, there is barely enough money for all the existing CTA proposed service extensions (Red line north and south improvements)


User currently offlinemidway7 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 151 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5514 times:

Does anyone know (and I apologize if this has been discussed previously) what if anything AA may do with the ORD gate leases in the BK. That would give a lot of insight into their plans for ORD moving forward.

I believe Concourse K could be extended on the end and an IAB built into it. Not sure exactly how this would work, but AA could get 4-5 international gates out of this, with the added benefit of same terminal connections (INTL to Domestic) and redued aircraft repositioning from the current arrangement. Of course T-5 could be used for overflow or additional K gates could potentially be converted to IAB gates. K is not the domestic madhouse it was back when the extension was built. The ends of H and K are newer and were built in the early 90's. The long halls and combined concourse towards T-3 are rehabbed relics from the 1960's. The end of K may have been built with this potentially in mind. Someone with better knowledge may know more.


User currently offlinejsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2016 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 5471 times:

Quoting midway7 (Reply 7):
I believe Concourse K could be extended on the end and an IAB built into it. Not sure exactly how this would work, but AA could get 4-5 international gates out of this, with the added benefit of same terminal connections (INTL to Domestic) and redued aircraft repositioning from the current arrangement. Of course T-5 could be used for overflow or additional K gates could potentially be converted to IAB gates. K is not the domestic madhouse it was back when the extension was built. The ends of H and K are newer and were built in the early 90's. The long halls and combined concourse towards T-3 are rehabbed relics from the 1960's. The end of K may have been built with this potentially in mind. Someone with better knowledge may know more.

The circa-2001 expansion plan (which also called for the new T4 and T6) included an extension to Concourse K. The taxiways around the bottom of Terminal 3 can be reconfigured to make room for a dog-leg extension. There were to be 4-5 new gates, and some of the existing Concourse K gates were going to be spaced further apart to allow for more widebody operations. Seems laughable now that AA is down to so few year-round transatlantic destinations from ORD, but this was back in the days of Glasgow, Stockholm, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Frankfurt, etc.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5167 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5091 times:

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 8):
The circa-2001 expansion plan (which also called for the new T4 and T6) included an extension to Concourse K. The taxiways around the bottom of Terminal 3 can be reconfigured to make room for a dog-leg extension. There were to be 4-5 new gates, and some of the existing Concourse K gates were going to be spaced further apart to allow for more widebody operations. Seems laughable now that AA is down to so few year-round transatlantic destinations from ORD, but this was back in the days of Glasgow, Stockholm, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Frankfurt, etc.

This was the main reason why AA wanted to get all of L, when DL decided to consolidate operations in T2. That way, it could have shifted most Asian and European departures on L, along with the BA departures. In theory, you could have then put customs and immigration facilities in L and done away with making passengers arriving from overseas deal with the airport train, as well as the moving of aircraft from T5 to T3.


User currently offlineAAplat4life From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4724 times:

Quoting ckfred (Reply 9):
This was the main reason why AA wanted to get all of L, when DL decided to consolidate operations in T2.

If that was true, AA was mighty quiet about it. The rumors were that AA had a right of first refusal on L, but IIRC AA ended up with the same number of gates it started with. It is a nice idea to use it for AA international destinations, but it seems pretty tight there for a lot of wide body flights at the gates, limited room for passengers (although the old Crown Room could be turned into an Admiral's Club), and it remains to be seen where immigration facilities could be added.


User currently offlineripcordd From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1149 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4696 times:

AA did have first rights of refusal for the old DL gates and they only took 1 L10 and they let L-3 thru L-9 go which opened up more Spirit and VX flights they should have leased them and sat on them. Also AS will no goto terminal 2 they are worked by AA and handle a ton of connecting passengers from AA. AA should have turned the L side into a Oneworld Terminal put JAL/IB get British etc it has its own bag room club and would have made for some nice connections for Oneworld. And they even could have put FIS in the L side.....

User currently offlineslinky09 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2009, 820 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4672 times:

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
Is Terminal 5 approaching any sort of threshold where a new Int'l terminal will be necessary? Given that these are non-UA/AA airlines, will there ever be that much growth to warrant doubling the capacity with Terminal 6?

I'm not sure of the answer to that, but having just arrived back off my fourth ORD-LHR flight this year, I wish someone would pull it to the ground and erect a terminal that meets the needs of passengers, and has the facilities for premium travel to suit a city of Chicago's stature!


User currently offlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3717 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4499 times:

Quoting slinky09 (Reply 12):
I'm not sure of the answer to that, but having just arrived back off my fourth ORD-LHR flight this year, I wish someone would pull it to the ground and erect a terminal that meets the needs of passengers, and has the facilities for premium travel to suit a city of Chicago's stature!

T5 is currently undergoing a major renovation. Shops and dining (developed by Westfield Group, which owns a bunch of Chicagoland malls) will be added post-security, and a new, larger TSA checkpoint will also be added. Should be done by the end of 2013.

Interestingly enough, T5 was pre-wired for a bunch of post-security dining and shopping; the City of Chicago just didn't want to commit to it until recently.

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 10):
although the old Crown Room could be turned into an Admiral's Club

Even though AA didn't take over all of L, I'm still surprised that this hasn't happened with the AS, IB, and RP (Connection) departures on L. Is the space currently vacant, or has it been turned into something else like dining or shops?



I don't work for FWA, their tenants, or their ad agency. But I still love FWA.
User currently onlineFL787 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 1537 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4256 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 13):
Is the space currently vacant, or has it been turned into something else like dining or shops?

It was turned into some sort of bar/restaurant named ICE.



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User currently onlinemhkansan From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 669 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4188 times:

Next to the USO lounge, there is a disused lounge space that AA employees turned into the AA nonrev lounge over in L. I really like using the space but theoretically it could be repurposed back into an L Oneworld lounge if need be.

Where would Spirit go?


User currently offlineskyduster From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4113 times:

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):

West Terminal: 45 gate midfield satellite connected with people mover to Terminal 2, later a landside 15 gate complex with new arrival/departure facilities.

The West Terminal (and I've also seen it referred to as "Terminal 7") proposal is, as ckfred mentioned before me, a concession to get the suburbs west and southwest of the airport (specifically DuPage County) to stop opposing O'Hare expansion. The irony is that many of these suburbs exist because of the airport. Back in the 1960s/70s, the airport spurred economic opportunities (jobs) which led to the development of this area into the relatively dense residential, commercial, and industrial suburbs that are there now.

But it appears to me -and perhaps someone can correct me if I am wrong on this- but appears to me that those suburbanites are perhaps clueless on how airports work.

See, as it stands right now, the only entrances to the airport are from the airport's east side. If you're driving in from the west, you have to drive all the way around the airport. So, I understand suburban calls for a "west side access" (as it's being called) into the airport. Whether or not it's feasible (financially, technically, time-wise, etc), I don't know, but I understand their calls to be able to enter the airport from the west side, and perhaps somehow cut through the airport (underneath the runways?) towards the terminals. That, I get. (Of course, a more sensible solution for this could be a freeway that goes around the airport, hugging it, along the airport's western and southern boundaries, so that the suburbanites can reach the eastern entrance of the airport much faster).

What I don't understand is what the suburbanites think they're going to get from a terminal specifically built on the west side of the airport just to accommodate them.

As we all know here, airlines use specific terminals, specific gates. Will those suburbanites only use carriers that are based on that West Terminal? When they book their flights online, will they do the research to make sure that the flight they're looking at departs (and returns to) the West Terminal? What if the West Terminal -let's just say hypothetically- becomes an AA/OneWorld terminal, while T3 (the current AA terminal) goes to Delta, Spirit, JetBlue, miscellaneous, and T2 is given over the United/StarAlliance for international flights (departures + arrivals). So, let's say the Western Terminal turns into an AA/OneWorld hub. In such a scenario, will the suburbanites only fly with AA and OneWorld carriers?

Or are the suburbanites just asking to be able to drive to (or be dropped off at) the West Terminal (which may also house a transport hub), where they'd be able to take airport transit to the other terminals if needed?



mostly lurker, very rare poster
User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5167 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3931 times:

Quoting skyduster (Reply 16):
See, as it stands right now, the only entrances to the airport are from the airport's east side. If you're driving in from the west, you have to drive all the way around the airport. So, I understand suburban calls for a "west side access" (as it's being called) into the airport. Whether or not it's feasible (financially, technically, time-wise, etc), I don't know, but I understand their calls to be able to enter the airport from the west side, and perhaps somehow cut through the airport (underneath the runways?) towards the terminals. That, I get. (Of course, a more sensible solution for this could be a freeway that goes around the airport, hugging it, along the airport's western and southern boundaries, so that the suburbanites can reach the eastern entrance of the airport much faster).

There is a plan for the future to build a connector between I-294 to I-90 around the south and west sides of the field. The idea is that ORD is boxed in by interstate highways on all 4 sides and can't be further expanded. To date, there hasn't been any engineering work done, and the route of the proposed highway isn't set.

I agree with you that people don't get how an airport works. Generally, an airport of any size has one entrance into the terminal complex, unless you have something like PHX, which allows access from both the east and west. Even ATL, which has an underground train running between the terminals still forces drivers to decide between intenational on the east and domestic on the west.

It always seems to me that the people who complain are never road warriors. I've met people who are road warriors and live in the suburbs which complain all the time. They think their neighbors are nuts. Then, you get the New York natives who also can't fathom why people in Chicago want a third airport.

Then, there are people who live in Chicago, under the arrival patterns for 27R, 27L and 28 and the departure patterns for 9R and 10, who just live with the noise. The same holds true for people who live in Rosemont and Franklin Park. They know that but for ORD, their towns would be much different.

The plan for the eventual terminal on the west side is that it would serve new airlines for Chicago, or someone other than AA and UA who wants to build a hub operation, such as Virgin America or Jet Blue. The problem is that UA and AA don't want to pay for terminal space for competitors, and VX and B6 don't want to commit to a hub operation. VX doesn't have enough operations to merit more than another gate or two. B6 would probably like a Midwest hub, but with its relationship with AA, both AA and B6 probably want to see how the bankruptcy process plays out.


User currently offlineskyduster From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3517 times:

Yep, you're right.

DFW is another two-entry airport. Outside the US, I can think of a few more. CDG is one. ATH was built to allow for two-sided access when that need arises, with a similar master plan to DFW. The reason for this is because of those airports' terminal layouts; whereas terminals (and space alloted for future terminals) and runways, are laid out along both sides of an access road. In the case of CDG's T2 complex, satellite terminals S3 and S4 (I hate CDG's terminal-naming conventions) were/are being built to span the access road which passes underneath. Two other airports, MAD and BCN, allow for two-sided access (north-south for MAD, northeast-southwest for BCN), because the terminals are built on the edge of airport property, so they're easy to access...no need to cross runways.

ORD's layout, as you lightly touched on, makes western access difficult. I think that when these suburbanites look at a map of the Chicago area, they don't understand the interior infrastructure of ORD, and what happens the moment you [hypothetically] reach the airport from the west....like being on the airside of all 4 terminals (3 of which are built in a semi-circle), aside from the need to cross runways and taxiways to reach the terminals in the first place. ORD has this circular layout, common in the US (EWR, JFK, LAX are some other examples), which makes two-sided access difficult. Not that it wouldn't necessarily be worth it, but it's something to ponder.

Of course, maybe some suburbanites get this, which is why they're calling for a West Terminal, which isn't necessarily a bad idea, but as we agreed above, suburbanites won't benefit from it; they're missing the point on how airports work, and that carriers use specific terminals and gates.

Quoting ckfred (Reply 17):
It always seems to me that the people who complain are never road warriors. I've met people who are road warriors and live in the suburbs which complain all the time. They think their neighbors are nuts. Then, you get the New York natives who also can't fathom why people in Chicago want a third airport

That's interesting...I'm curious why New Yorkers are baffled that [some] Chicagoans want a 3rd airport. I guess there's pro's and con's for both: Fewer airports -at least one of which is a mega-airport like ORD- allows for the city to become a hub. OTOH, many people feel that the southern suburbs and NW Indiana are too far from MDW and ORD, and could perhaps benefit from at least a small domestic airport near them (and I mean "small" by big-city standards, as MDW is not by any means "small" as far as pax/year)...something of MDW scale (and perhaps this airport could even alleviate MDW). Peotone is one proposal and Gary is another.

I personally don't know if a 3rd airport is needed, but if one is to be built, then Peotone is the stupid option, IMO (the only reason that one would be built would be for politics...to build an airport controlled by the state, rather than the City of Chicago, or by Gary or the State of Indiana). Gary would make much more sense, as it would be at the heart of the "underserved" IL-IN area, and also close to Chicago's city centre. Also, from a land-use and environmental perspective, Gary -already a greyfield site- would be the much smarter option.

[Edited 2012-07-02 22:23:07]

[Edited 2012-07-02 22:24:33]


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User currently offlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3717 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3395 times:

Quoting skyduster (Reply 18):
I personally don't know if a 3rd airport is needed, but if one is to be built, then Peotone is the stupid option, IMO (the only reason that one would be built would be for politics...to build an airport controlled by the state, rather than the City of Chicago, or by Gary or the State of Indiana). Gary would make much more sense, as it would be at the heart of the "underserved" IL-IN area, and also close to Chicago's city centre. Also, from a land-use and environmental perspective, Gary -already a greyfield site- would be the much smarter option.

The City of Chicago has had an agreement to develop GYY further since 1995. They also have a similar agreement with RFD. Both RFD and GYY currently have G4 service, which is a very good start (RFD also has F9 to DEN).

On the flip side of the coin, the City also opposes Peotone. And I agree: There are two (maybe three if you count MKE) viable alternative "third airports" for Chicagoland that are already built with most of the needed infrastructure in place.



I don't work for FWA, their tenants, or their ad agency. But I still love FWA.
User currently offlineBC77008 From United States of America, joined Sep 2011, 294 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3315 times:

Although not necessarily an expansion, but an improvement, Terminal 2 is getting jet bridges in the F Concourse to support United Express operations. Also according to this article, the UA club in T2 is growing from 2,600 feet to 12,000 feet and it states it should be open by Christmas. I haven't seen any construction so I don't think this is part of the article is very accurate.....

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...icago-o-hare-international-airport



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User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1522 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3284 times:

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 20):

I noticed a couple bridges being attached as we were taxiing by the other day. That's certainly a nice addition, I hate having to use stairs with all my bags when I commute. Not a huge deal, but a hassle for me and a big hassle for families with babies and the disabled. Now if they could only just widen F, I loathe walking through there because it gets so congested and I just love it when people walk slow and 6 abreast through the concourse.


User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2846 posts, RR: 30
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3209 times:

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
I'm curious because, and please correct me if I'm wrong, there seems to be a shortage of gates at ORD. When VX and B6 entered, it seemed as if the struggle was less for slots and more for adequate space to launch a full operation. So even if they don't build ALL the terminal facilities proposed above, I'm curious how they might be planning on changing things around the terminals.

   ! This is exactly what the airlines want you to believe. A shortage of gates, please. ORD has had no more trouble accommodating new entrants than other major airports around the country. B6 wanted to add ORD back when the airport was slot restricted, and had to aggressively fight against incumbents for slots just as LCCs do today when entering or expanding from our 4 slot restricted airports (LGA, DCA, EWR, JFK). Once they got their slots, it wasn't very hard to find them a single gate for their 7 daily flights. VX came about after the new runway had done away with slot restrictions, but wanted access to two city-owned/operated gates in the domestic terminals for a handful of daily flights. They could have added ORD at any time if they had agreed to use T5 (NK did this for a while) or subleased from an incumbent tenant, but didn't want to pay the added expense and complained and complained until the DL/NW and UA/CO mergers finally opened up some space in the domestic terminals.

There won't be many changes with respect to the terminals. By far the nicest domestic terminal is Terminal 1 (even though it isn't great by any means), long the home of UA and also a lucky pair of Star Alliance partners LH and NH. The decrepit Terminal 2 is a cesspool that today only UAX, AC, DL, and US pax must endure. Terminal 3 primarily serves AA, but also its partners AS, IB, and WS as well as competitors B6, NK, and VX in Concourse L. Terminal 5 hosts all non-precleared international arrivals, regardless of airline, and the departures of everybody else.

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
The 2002 Plan calls for a LOT of WB gates. Was this still a time when lots of 767s were flying domestic?

There were certainly far more domestic widebody services at the time than there are now, but even then it was quite clear as to what the future would hold. Anybody paying attention to industry trends would have noticed that:

- U.S. carriers were rapidly retiring aging shorter range widebody types, many of which had been designed for and consequently flown on domestic routes for decades, such as the DC-10-10, 767-200, L-1011, 747-200, etc. In most cases, the replacements were narrowbodies such as the 757, A320, and 737NG. This affected routes like ORD-SFO/LAX that had typically enjoyed lots of widebody service...

- U.S. carriers were reallocating scarce widebody capacity from the competitive domestic market to the (potentially) much more profitable long haul international arena. Not only did the new missions see less competition and offer better profit potential, but also were much more suitable to the capabilities of the aircraft itself. I daresay when factoring in crew costs, competition, fuel burn, revenue, idle ground time, etc. there is much more money to be made on a single roundtrip ORD-Europe operation than two ORD-California roundtrips that tie up the bird for approximately the same amount of time...

- Widebody "legacy" operators had to contend with LCC competitors on many of their business-heavy "trunk" routes for the first time. If we keep going with the ORD-SFO/LAX example, this was about the time that WN and TZ began offering convenient nonstop MDW-SFO/LAX services, not to mention the likes of NK trying ORD-LAX. Airlines like UA and AA who might have been comfortable offering a half dozen daily flights before suddenly increased their schedules to keep the all-important business pax happy and loyal. Higher frequency ops came with the caveat of smaller gauge.

As always, hindsight is 20/20, but I would still like to think that the folks at ORD knew that the days of bountiful domestic widebody ops were coming to an end. The prevalence of widebody gates in future terminals probably had much more to do with the potential for increased long haul international services. This was a time when both hub carriers were rapidly expanding - AA was busy adding secondary European markets (GLA, BHX, ARN, MXP, etc.), and UA was launching nonstops to secondary Asian markets like PEK, PVG, KIX, etc. I would imagine the airport was also keen to attract a number of conspicuously absent global carriers (especially from places like South America, the Middle East, and China) with fresh new terminal facilities. Terminal 5 may have been a great terminal when it opened in 1993, but had already been eclipsed by state of the art international terminals at competing U.S. hubs like SFO, DTW, and IAH by 2002.

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
Is Terminal 5 approaching any sort of threshold where a new Int'l terminal will be necessary? Given that these are non-UA/AA airlines, will there ever be that much growth to warrant doubling the capacity with Terminal 6?

Remember that both UA and AA do use Terminal 5 for ALL international arrivals (except from a handful of pre-cleared Canadian, Caribbean, and Irish destinations), as well as foreign operators like NH, LH, and IB whose flights depart from the "domestic" terminals. These airlines must deplane all international arriving pax and crew into Terminal 5, as it is the only facility at ORD to offer customs and immigration; the aircraft are then towed over to Terminals 1, 2, or 3 for departure.

I highly doubt Terminal 5 is anywhere close to a threshold where additional international facilities would be necessary. In all my trips through ORD throughout the 90s and 2000s I don't think I've ever seen the place chock full, often times it will be empty or play host to a token aircraft or two. I'd say the demise of MX and vast reduction in transatlantic AA ops alone left plenty of room in T5 for any new tenants and/or future international expansion. ORD really does not seem to do well for any foreign carrier that does not enjoy very close ties with either UA or AA. Just ask AF, AZ, PK, VS, SQ, SU, or JM what I mean. People keep wondering why EK hasn't added ORD yet, but the answer is simple: they will probably fail, especially with EY tying into the AA hub and QR likely getting all of the UA feed...

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
Terminal 4 looks to be posed as more of an Int'l terminal for AA to complement Terminal 3. Given AA's situation, would that ever be in the cards? If they lose Concourse L, would it be worth having a Terminal 4 of NB gates or would there not really be any gain/loss of capacity?

One thing is for sure: ORD is an integral "cornerstone" in the AA network. The hub isn't going anywhere. AA has slashed long haul international service, but you really do have to give them credit for trying things like ARN, MXP, GLA, BHX, ZRH, NGO, EZE, DME, and DEL. Their "situation" was challenging, to say the least - high costs, and a lack of aircraft that could compete effectively against the bevy of UAX 70 seaters (CR7s and E-170s) and small mainline birds (733, 735, A319) on many routes from ORD. With A319s on order and scope relief potentially on the horizon, not to mention dramatically lower costs thanks to bankruptcy, AA will have a much easier time competing against UA, NK, WN (from MDW and MKE), B6, and VX in the future. Assuming the airline can gain marketshare on key regional routes (think Toronto, Boston, NYC, Philly, DC, MSP, Denver, Houston, etc.), they may then have additional feed to support new and/or expanded long haul flying. That said, I don't see any need to raze Concourse L and build a new terminal for an airline that appears to be much more interested in preventing airport expansion than adding flights.

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
With the West complex, I understand neither UA nor AA really want this. There's no way UA is moving from T1 and AA loses quite a bit of space even if they fully buildout the West complex. But even if just the satellite were built, would it be particularly useful for any airline?

The main problem with a West terminal is accessibility. Sure, it's great for those with family and friends in the nearby western suburbs that can pick them up and drop them off, but it would be a big inconvenience to anyone trying to get to the city or other suburban areas. All of the public transportation and rental car infrastructure is already in place on the eastern side of the airport. I would think NK could make pretty good use of such a facility, since they probably cater to VFR and leisure traffic anyway that doesn't mind the hassle if it saves them money. Not to mention the fact that they've been growing a fair bit from ORD lately. But I would not expect to see any of the legacies, foreign carriers, or even B6 or VX move without a fight.

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
How much more terminal space does ORD really need? Maybe just another 20 or so NB gates?

ORD really doesn't need any more terminal space. Every airline that wants to serve Chicago already does, whether its through ORD or MDW. As far as I'm aware, no airline is pressing the city for additional room to grow. Seeing as how all new entrants have been accommodated, I think the focus should be on upgrading what they already have and ensuring the success of existing services before worrying about more space (added costs) and airlines/routes.

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
Airport terminals fascinate me, but particularly constrained situations like ORD or JFK I find more fascinating.

LOL, ORD is not particularly constrained at all. They have plenty of breathing room compared to LGA, DCA, and cross-town airport MDW. Or there's LHR, an airport that handles the same number of pax as ORD but has substantially less runway capacity and much greater need for customs/immigration facilities and widebody/long haul aircraft support.

JFK is really only constrained during the peak transatlantic rush period. But they don't have a shortage of terminal capacity!



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlinestrfyr51 From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 1070 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3162 times:
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I live west of OHare in Schaumburg and other than Irving Park Road there's No way to access the terminal from the west without
building a new terminal in the west side of the airport. They are and have been moving a lot of Dirt south of the airport and that's looking north from the METRA tracks on my way to and from downtown on the train. I'm not sure what more thy can take from Bensenville without razing the whole town for the airport. The western entrance would have to be Elmhurst Road and that would Definitely disrupt he local traffic but there COULD be a direct exit right off of I-90 as there IS an on ramp at I-90 From ElmHurst Road (IL-83). and IL-83 has a straight shot from the southwest susburbs right off of I-290 and I-355 they could add an underground extension to the subway since the subway already goes right to the Terminal and it's concieveable they could turn it into a LOOP to cover the Terminals and the new Cargo buildings. AA and UA are right that they Need not invest in a new terminal. United designed and built terminal 1. If American HAD wanted a new terminal they could have had one. Should VX and B6 want to commit to an ORD hub??
I'm sure that the City might want to throw in with them to build a new Terminal in partnership for the future.
But for AA and UA to want to build a new terminal for somebody Else?? I have to ask..
Did anybody do it for THEM??? The ONLY way I would agree if Midway were to have to close and we all KNOW that's NOT going to happen. Especially since the GARY IN airport is sitting over there EMPTY and there's a METRA train line Right To that airport from downtown in direct Sight from My office in the Willis Tower. No, there's No NEED for a new terminal at ORD with
Empty resources available. Just my Take on it.


User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10345 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3113 times:

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Thread starter):
Terminal 4: 18 WB gate terminal with FIS extending north from Terminal 3, removing Concourse L.

I guess DL is probably glad they got out of L (sort of), considering the master plan. I always thought that DL would have been better off to move the NW ops over to L and consolidate the operation, there. One thing confuses me, though........it says the plans are to remove L and build straight north from Terminal 3..........won't the power plant, etc. be in the way or are there plans to move those, too?

Quoting ckfred (Reply 5):
The problem with a western terminal is connection. One of the local TV stations found a memo several years ago that indicated that the connection between the western terminal and the current terminals was to be a bus running on Route 83, Thorndale Road, and Mannheim Road. That would be a nightmare for people connecting, because traffic can be very unpredictable. A 15-minute trip early on a Sunday could be 45 minutes during weekday evening rush, especially if there is an accident.

Sounds like the old Athens airport



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
25 WA707atMSP : DTW is one of the few airports that have two entrances: one from the southwest (I-275) and one from the northeast (I-94). The I-275 entrance was adde
26 AADC10 : There are several with two entrances. DFW, MCO and PHX come to mind. Even if the west terminal is never built, the eventual parallel runway alignment
27 aznmadsci : I have a couple of question. What happened to T4? I know it housed international arrivals and departures and done via hardstand, but why did they not
28 mayor : Wasn't T4 the parking garage, used temporarily as an international terminal after the original was closed and before T5 was built?
29 Mir : According to the master plan, the power plant will be built around. The other stuff in that area will be relocated. -Mir
30 jsnww81 : Correct. It was the interim international facility for about 10 years and was improvised out of the ground floor of the parking garage. Passengers we
31 JCWr56 : As a long time lurker, I finally pony up and paid. Here's my first post. As to the OP, the plan you're looking at was called the World GateWay Program
32 Post contains links and images AmricanShamrok : Has work started on this already? Thanks - this is very interesting to know. I thought gates M13/M14 would be merged to accommodate the A380 though?
33 JCWr56 : Yes, work has started, they're putting up a new temporary duty free where the seating was for the food court as the lines to security were causing peo
34 ckfred : I know New Yorkers who hate it, when they can't get out of EWR and have to fly out of LGA, or they live on Long Island, but have drive past JFK to EW
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