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O’Hare Updates in Jeopardy as AA and UA Battle Over “Secret Deal”

O’Hare Updates in Jeopardy as AA and UA Battle Over “Secret Deal”
Jennifer Billock

United Airlines and American Airlines are having a bit of a fight over what American calls a secret deal, a claim United says is completely untrue. At stake? Enough revenue from American to allow O’Hare airport to make necessary renovations.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago has big plans. It wants to be the world’s most modern airport. But in order to do that, it needs buy-in from two major airlines that use it as a hub: United and American. United is all for it, but American has an issue that’s making them not sign the lease for its gate space.

American claims that at the last minute, O’Hare signed a secret deal with United, giving them more gates than originally planned and giving the airline an unfair advantage over competition.

“The United gate deal creates a clear winner, United, and clear losers: namely, competition, Chicago travelers and American Airlines,” American spokesperson Leslie Scott told Skift.

But United sees it a different way; they say that the deal has been out in the open for more than a year and American has no right to complain.

“It is disingenuous for American to make these claims,” United spokesperson Frank Benenati told Skift. “This was not a secret deal reached at the last minute … American has been aware of our agreement for over a year and has worked to block the implementation at every opportunity.”

American won’t likely leave behind its business in Chicago, but how this will be resolved in order to satisfy both airlines and allow the airport to remodel is yet to be seen.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (4)


  1. onehipdad

    March 6, 2018 at 8:42 am

    UA is Mitch McConnell, AA is Chuckie Schumer.

    UA is Paul Ryan, AA is Nancy Pelosi.

    UA is Dick The Bruiser, AA is Baron Von Raschke.

  2. flyingtrainguy

    March 6, 2018 at 10:53 am

    For American, there’s always Saint Louis. Has the airport paid for that third runway yet?

  3. BC Shelby

    March 6, 2018 at 11:04 am

    …it is sad they keep ignoring a fine facility just to the north that could serve as Chicago’s 3rd commercial airport.

    Milwaukee is terribly uderutilised, so much so management and the county were forced to close down one concourse. The terminal could handle at least twice the volume it currently does and still not have the delays that are frequent at O’Hare. There is a direct rail link to Chicago and Glenview with a station just to the west end of the airport making it (I believe) the only airport in the nation with intercity,(not LRT or commuter) heavy rail service. Travel reviews often praise the the terminal for it’s design and ease. It doesn’t take 15 – 18 minutes to taxi to a runway (I’ve sen this in videos), and runways are both long and durable enough to handle aircraft up to the A-380 and AN-225.

    Baltimore serves as a third airport for Washington DC, why not Milwaukee for Chicago? Particularly if the rail line between the two cities is upgraded to true HSR service. (125 mph). With only one stop (Glenview) his would put downtown Chicago within an hours travel time. Instead of competing against each other both cities and airport commissions should look into developing a relationship of co-operation.

  4. Wingtipflyer1

    March 7, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Secret deal?? It’s called Chicago Transparency.

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