WORLD ROUTES: The Chicago Hub Turnaround

The city of Chicago has been turned around as an aviation hub by focusing on four key areas delegates in the 20th World Route Development Forum Strategy Summit heard on Sunday, writes Justin Burns for The HUB. Written by Justin Burns.

Chicago's department of aviation commissioner, Rosemarie Andolino, outlined the turnaround strategy in her presentation to delegates in ‘Chicago: Reinventing the global hub’ in a session at this year's World Routes Strategy Summit.  The vision she says was on increasing the service offering, providing a world-class passenger service, investing in and around airports and sustainability into everything at Chicago O’Hare and Medway airports.

Chicago now handles 81 million passengers a year through both gateways, while 1.4 million tonnes of cargo passes through both.  Andolino explains O’Hare had suffered from a lack of investment in its infrastructure post-2009 and needed extensive development, but is now committed to providing the best services and facilities for passengers.  “One of the world’s biggest airports had become constrained. Maintaining infrastructure is essential to our success,” she adds.

The Chicago commissioner says 40 new routes have been created, six new international carriers welcomed since 2013, and the investment has created economic benefits to the region, and passenger capacity has been increased.  She explains that in 2015 Chicago O’Hare’s new air traffic tower will open, which has sustainability at the heart, and one of the keys to success of the hub has been to have a long-term strategy on developing infrastructure.

The environnment has been at the centre of the Chicago revival with the sustainability airport manual guiding development, and new projects have included the world’s first airport aeroponic garden, and green concession policies.

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