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O’Hare Evaluating A380 Operations & Terminal Improvements


One of Chicago’s major airport’s is requesting proposals for a preliminary design of gate and bridge improvements that would allow it to support A380 operations.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is busy preparing for the planned arrival of the Airbus A380 aircraft, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. The A380, which is currently the world’s largest passenger plane, features a double-deck, stands 79 feet tall, has a wingspan of nearly 262 feet and can hold up to 555 passengers.

Chicago’s Aviation Department has requested proposals for a preliminary design of new aircraft ramps and loading bridges necessary for supporting A380 operations. All 34 airlines serving ORD’s international terminal have agreed to pay the $1 million price tag for the design work, according to the Tribune. ORD is also looking at possible terminal improvements that would help accommodate the increase in passengers traffic.

Out of all the airlines supporting the design work, United Airlines and American Airlines are contributing the largest shares due to the number of flights they operate out of the terminal. However, both airlines have said they do not plan on integrating A380s into their fleets anytime soon and will not pay for any terminal improvements.

“We believe that the airlines driving these new infrastructure demands should financially support any resulting improvements,” United spokesman Luke Punzenberger told the Tribune.

To date, ORD has built a runway and taxiway that can support A380 operations. It has also modified existing taxiways to make room for the aircraft. Chicago has chipped in to accommodate the A380 as well, investing in bridges extending over Interstate 190 that are capable of support the aircraft’s weight.

ORD officials hope to have the A380 at the airport by 2016. Final approval of any design for the build out, however, is contingent upon the airlines’ commitment to operate the aircraft.

[Photo: iStock]

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evanderm October 15, 2014

Interesting to note that AA and UA are contributing the most but do not plan on integrating the A380;into their fleets. Nevertheless they have a real vested interest because both airlines' TATL-JV partners (BA and LH respectively) dobfly the aircraft so ultimately the US based airlines will profit from this.