MIAMI — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Airline Partners have announced the expansion of Terminal 5 and Redevelopment plans of O’Hare International Airport.

While the final upgrade plan, named O’Hare 21, will not be disclosed until next year, Emanuel announced that Terminal 5 will be expanded by 25 percent, a $300 million project to provide up to nine additional gates. This represents the first expansion of Terminal 5 since it opened 23 years ago.

Chicago O'Hare Terminal 5 (Credits: Chicago Department of Aviation)
Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5 (Credits: Chicago Department of Aviation)

The O’Hare 21 master plan also includes a redevelopment of Terminal 2 into a new space located at the center of the airport, intended to ease the flow of those passengers in transit for connecting flights.

“This is an important step forward in our ongoing work to ensure that O’Hare serves as the economic engine for the people of Chicago and an international gateway for travelers around the world,” Emanuel said.

According to the initial plan, the amenities in the new terminal would nclude a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, a departure hall with additional space for TSA passenger screening, as well as shopping and dining concessions. An earlier phase of O’Hare 21, announced last June, includes three hotel development projects at the airport, which will twofold the current hotel capacity.

“The Terminal 5 investment announced today and the other airport projects under consideration by the City and the airlines will expand and modernize O’Hare and lead to a safer, more efficient experience for O’Hare passengers, while bringing thousands of jobs and billions in economic opportunity to the region,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said.

The announcement complements other initiatives at the airport, aimed to modernize the airport, improve its operational capabilities and meet with the growing demand. Last January, the Mayor announced a $1.3 billion investment that includes a new runway (Runway 9C/27C), deicing pads and other critical airfield projects. It also follows an announcement in February by the City of Chicago and American Airlines to add five new gates at O’Hare by 2018, creating the first major gate expansion since 1993.