Chicago O'Hare International Airport: In a select group of airports with over 200 city destinations

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is the US’ third largest airport by passenger numbers (2014 and 2015) and the first in terms of aircraft movements. It is the ninth largest airport in the world, by passenger numbers. O'Hare sits in one of the country’s largest conurbations and in the midst of a transport crossroads and focal point for the whole of North America.

As with other long established big city hubs it could have been threatened by ever increasing direct point to point low cost airline services bypassing it, but 2015’s traffic growth figures indicate that the hub and spoke system for which it is a watchword – together with Atlanta and Dallas Fort Worth airports – continues to prevail. But O’Hare has had to contend with severe logistical problems, having been dubbed the most congested large airport in America.

This report looks at present and future growth trends at O’Hare, local and national airport statistics, how it matches up to both local and neighbouring airport competition across a range of metrics, at construction activities to counter the inherent congestion issues, and finally at its ownership and potential for privatisation.

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