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O'Hare International Airport

airport in Chicago, Illinois, United States

O'Hare International Airport is an airport on the edge of Chicago, Illinois. It is in the Chicago neighborhood O'Hare. It is one of the largest airports in both the United States and the world. It is a "hub" for both United Airlines (its second largest hub) and American Airlines, meaning that flights from many cities come and go from the airport daily. It gets the most international flights of any American airport not on the East or West Coast.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport
O'Hare International Airport (USGS).png
USGS aerial image, 2011
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Chicago
OperatorChicago Airport System
ServesChicago, Illinois, USA
Hub for
Elevation AMSL668 ft / 204 m
ORD is located in Chicago metropolitan area
Location of airport in Chicago
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4L/22R 7,500 2,286 Asphalt
4R/22L 8,075 2,461 Asphalt
9L/27R 7,500 2,286 Concrete
9R/27L 7,967 2,428 Asphalt/Concrete
10/28 13,001 3,962 Asphalt/Concrete
14L/32R 10,005 3,050 Asphalt
14R/32L 9,685 2,952 Asphalt/Concrete
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 200 61 Concrete
Statistics (2010)
Passenger volume66,665,390
Sources: FAA[1] and airport's website.[2]

The Federal government of the United States reduces the amount of delayed flights in the airport in order to shift the burden of domestic flights at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.[3]

United Airlines (including United Express) is the largest airline at O'Hare, carrying over 45% of passengers. O'Hare is the second-largest hub for United, after Houston-Bush. American Airlines (including American Eagle) has the second largest operation at O'Hare, carrying 37.08% of passengers. O'Hare is American Airlines' third-largest hub, after Dallas/Fort Worth and Charlotte-Douglas.[4]

O'Hare has been voted the "Best Airport in North America" for 10 years by two separate sources: Readers of the U.S. Edition of Business Traveler Magazine (1998–2003) and Global Traveler Magazine (2004–2007).[5] Travel and Leisure magazine's 2009 "America's Favorite Cities" ranked Chicago's Airport System (O'Hare and Midway) the second-worst for delays, New York City's airport system (JFK, Newark Liberty, and LaGuardia) being the first.[6] O'Hare currently accounts for over a sixth of the nation's total flight cancellations.[7]

The O'Hare Airport is 668 feet (204 meters) above sea level.[8]

It is operated by the City of Chicago Department of Aviation. Most of O'Hare Airport is in Cook County. However, a section of the southwest part of the airport is in DuPage County. The Cook County portion is located within a section of the city of Chicago contiguously connected to the rest of the city via a narrow strip of land about 200 feet (61 m) wide, running along Foster Ave. from the Des Plaines River to the airport.[9] This land was annexed into the city limits in the 1950s to assure the massive tax revenue associated with the airport being part of the city. The strip is bounded on the north by Rosemont and the south by Schiller Park.[10]



The airport was constructed in 1942–43. It was made as a manufacturing plant for airplanes during World War II.[11] The site was chosen for its proximity to the city and transportation.[11] The two-million square-foot (180,000 m²) factory needed easy access to the workforce of the nation's then-second-largest city, as well as its extensive railroad infrastructure. Orchard Place was a small nearby farming community.[11]

Douglas Company's contract ended in 1945 and though plans were proposed to build commercial aircraft, the company ultimately chose to concentrate production on the west coast. With the departure of Douglas, the airport took the name Orchard Field Airport. That was the source of its three-letter IATA code ORD.

In 1945, the facility was chosen by the city of Chicago as the site for a facility to meet future aviation demands. Matthew Laflin Rockwell (1915–1988) was the director of planning for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and responsible for the site selection and design of O'Hare International Airport. He was the great grandson of Matthew Laflin, a founder and pioneer of Chicago. The architect of the airport was Gertrude Kerbis.

The O'Hare is currently undergoing the largest construction projects in the United States.[12]

In March 2014, a Blue Line train was derailed and crashed at the O'Hare train station, injuring 32 people.[13]


  • Road vehicles enter and exit via I-190, which branches off I-90 (the Kennedy Expressway) leading to downtown Chicago. Cars may also access the airport locally from Mannheim Road, the airport's eastern boundary. Aside from cargo access on its south side, all airport traffic travels through the east side of the airport. Local residents sometimes refer to I-190 as "the world's busiest Cul-de-sac" as a result of the one way access.
  • Subway trains from the Blue Line of the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' depart the terminal from an underground station that opened on September 3, 1984.
  • Commuter trains from the Metra North Central Service stop at the O'Hare Transfer station, which is connected to the Airport Transit System via a shuttle bus.
  • Taxi and Limo Services also provide transportation to/from Chicago O'Hare Airport.


1057 deaths have happened as a result of accidents to or from Chicago O'Hare.[14]




  1. FAA Airport Master Record for ORD (Form 5010 PDF), effective March 15, 2007.
  2. Monthly Operations, Passengers, Cargo Summary By Class, For December 2008 (published January 21, 2009)
  3. "O'Hare International Airport (ORD) Chicago – United States". Airport booking Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  4. "Chicago, IL: O'Hare (ORD)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  5. Chicago Department of Aviation (December 6, 2007). "Chicago Voted Best Airport in North America". Press release. Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  6. "America's Favorite Cities 2009". Travel + Leisure. Archived from the original on August 6, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  7. "Table 6: Ranking of Major Airport On-Time Departure Performance Year-to-date through July 2006". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  8. "Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, United States". Airport Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  9. "City of Chicago Community Areas" (PDF). Webportal. City of Chicago. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  10. "Ward 41" (PDF). Webportal. City of Chicago. October 2007. Retrieved December 24, 2008.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Northwest Chicago Historical Society – O'Hare". Northwest Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  12. "O'Hare International Airport History". Fly Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  13. "Chicago airport train derailment injures 32". BBC News Online. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  14. "Aviation Safety Network > ASN Aviation Safety Database > Airports > Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL profile". Aviation Safety Network. July 13, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  16. Karp, Gregory. "Finnair to begin flights from O'Hare".
  17. "City of Chicago :: Interjet Announces New Service Between Mexico City and Chicago".
  18. "WOW air to begin flights from O'Hare to Iceland". ABC7 Chicago. 27 March 2017.
  19. "ORD95".
  20. "ORD routes @ OurAirports".
  21. "Virgin Atlantic suspends London Heathrow - Chicago O'Hare". London Air Travel. 10 December 2016.

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