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Effect of 2018 ORD and AA ORD expansion plans on UA flyers?

Effect of 2018 ORD and AA ORD expansion plans on UA flyers?

Old Feb 7, 16, 3:50 pm
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Effect of 2018 ORD and AA ORD expansion plans on UA flyers?

Over the past few years, the airlines that have operations at ORD have been fighting the expansion, mainly because most believe it will bring more competition for the big two (AA & UA). Most recently, the city and the airlines finally agreed to build the final runway as part of the O'Hare expansion to build the 6th E-W runway bringing 8 runways, de-icing pads, and finally the new taxiway to cut the taxi times down.

However, the airlines have refused to help the expansion of the new West Terminal, even though they are finalizing the build out of IL-390 and the new connection to I-90 on the west part of the airfield. UA has been adamant they don't have a gate problem at ORD and that more gates are not needed there, yet, my personal experience is that it seems we are always waiting for a gate to open up there.

Today, AA announced though they have struck a deal with the city and they will be expanding T3 to add 5 more gates. Now that AA is upping their game, I wonder if UA will have to follow?
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Old Feb 7, 16, 4:04 pm
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Until AA starts flying more mainline they are no real competition. I feel like every AA flight is a Eagle flight.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by dank0014 View Post
Today, AA announced though they have struck a deal with the city and they will be expanding T3 to add 5 more gates. Now that AA is upping their game, I wonder if UA will have to follow?
It was public yesterday, FWIW.



And there is nowhere for UA to add gates at its terminals, even if it wanted to. They go right up to the taxiways now. These 5 are the taking up the last bit of space available at Concourse L and are likely RJ gates based on how little room there is out there.

The new runway addition also includes centralized de-icing pads so that will no longer happen at the gate which should help reduce competition for gate space versus what happens today, at least in the winter.

n.b. The link above is to my blog or to one which I am a regular contributor. FT rules require that I disclose that in the post.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 9:19 pm
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There's space to expand - It won't be cheap though...

There's at least two spots north of Terminal 1 that UA could expand into - it and ORD would have to create a new infrastructure but given the Concourse B-C connector or something similar to DEN or IAD, you could move people to and from the areas shown:

Map view:



Bird's eye/satellite view:



I'd note that the distance between Concourse B and Concourse C is about the same distance as the end of the gates at the north end of Concourse B (B22 through B24) and the bottom part of Area 1.

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Old Feb 7, 16, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by DELee View Post
There's at least two spots north of Terminal 1 that UA could expand into - it and ORD would have to create a new infrastructure but given the Concourse B-C connector or something similar to DEN or IAD, you could move people to and from the areas shown:

I'd note that the distance between Concourse B and Concourse C is about the same distance as the end of the gates at the north end of Concourse B (B22 through B24) and the bottom part of Area 1.

David
I think spending less than $100M to add a few gates and spending a billion plus for a new terminal are very, very different discussions.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 9:47 pm
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DeLee, you would expand across the runways? Underground? "Not cheap" would be the understatement of the millennium, and that term is used in relation to airport expansion costs, which inflate as fast as defense contractor's costs when they have submitted a low bid for a new toy.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 10:16 pm
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
DeLee, you would expand across the runways? Underground? "Not cheap" would be the understatement of the millennium, and that term is used in relation to airport expansion costs, which inflate as fast as defense contractor's costs when they have submitted a low bid for a new toy.
And that's why I entitled my post as "There's space to expand - It won't be cheap though..." I don't doubt that _any_ construction at ORD for UA starts at $100M and that a new terminal in Areas 1 and/or 2 would begin likely at $1B. However, if the Chicago Department of Transportation wants to get more growth, then this approach could be a potential path forward.

On further note and doing a bit more digging, according to the image on Seth's blog, the new runway cuts through the middle of Area 1 and across the southwest corner of Area 2 (which probably will make UA's operations at ORD more effective if their planes can land and take off from there in parallel with 27L/9R use).



Given the demand for growth, even LAWA is investing something like $5B in infrastructure at LAX. So the possibility is there - but clearly doubtful in the immediate future - that UA and Chicago DOT could seek a growth path for more UA gates at ORD. But it will likely take the equivalent purchase cost of many A380s or 787s/747s/737s, etc. to make this happen.

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Old Feb 7, 16, 10:48 pm
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Originally Posted by DELee View Post
And that's why I entitled my post as "There's space to expand - It won't be cheap though..." I don't doubt that _any_ construction at ORD for UA starts at $100M and that a new terminal in Areas 1 and/or 2 would begin likely at $1B. However, if the Chicago Department of Transportation wants to get more growth, then this approach could be a potential path forward.

On further note and doing a bit more digging, according to the image on Seth's blog, the new runway cuts through the middle of Area 1 and across the southwest corner of Area 2 (which probably will make UA's operations at ORD more effective if their planes can land and take off from there in parallel with 27L/9R use).



Given the demand for growth, even LAWA is investing something like $5B in infrastructure at LAX. So the possibility is there - but clearly doubtful in the immediate future - that UA and Chicago DOT could seek a growth path for more UA gates at ORD. But it will likely take the equivalent purchase cost of many A380s or 787s/747s/737s, etc. to make this happen.

David
They have already done the study and mock up of building the new terminal. Who's terminal that would be I don't know, but it's the Ohare Western Terminus if you google it ( this hits on part of it but there are even renderings out there http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-aviation-chief-ginger-evans-met-0625-20150625-story.html). They are already building the expressway into that feeder now. The issue though is like you mentioned the high costs, who moves there, and how do you connect it to the rest of the airport. Also the issue is that it can add or save you 15 minutes of additional driving to get there depending upon where you are coming from (burbs or city).

Basically the city just wants the airlines to help fund the additional terminal or gates, but mainly AA and UA don't want that as more gates means more competition that can come in.

Beyond the safety reasons from the crossing runways before, there is no point for ORD to have the most number of runways now without having gates for the planes to go to.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 6:03 am
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Originally Posted by dank0014 View Post

Today, AA announced though they have struck a deal with the city and they will be expanding T3 to add 5 more gates. Now that AA is upping their game, I wonder if UA will have to follow?
If you actually know the details, AA is NOT expanding or upping their game in ORD, AA is NOT acquiring more gates from the city or other airlines in ORD, it is simply converting one of its widebodies gate L10 into 5 gates that used exclusively only for E70 and E75.

L10 had been used to park AA's 787, prior to that was QR's 77W (it had since moved to T5), so in a way AA is actually shrinking but not expanding, mainline > regional, ORD-NRT downsize from 772ER to 788.

P.S. If you had been to ORD long enough, L10 was originally a widebody gate for DL, often used by its L1011 !

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Feb 8, 16 at 6:12 am
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Old Sep 20, 16, 1:17 pm
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Looks like the city put out some proposals for expanding the whole airport.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...htmlstory.html
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Old Sep 20, 16, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by JAaronT View Post
Looks like the city put out some proposals for expanding the whole airport.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...htmlstory.html
I'm trying to better understand those drawings - do some of them actually show the international terminal finally being connected airside?

T5 not currently being connected is my biggest gripe with ORD.
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Old Sep 20, 16, 2:22 pm
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Yeah, those drawings are a bit difficult to decipher. In some, it seems like a complete gut and re-building. Would be difficult to sustain operations during that type of overhaul, I would think.

It would be nice to have all the terminals connected air side, but the biggest gain for me would be an express train from the loop out to O'Hare.
Interesting that is shown in all the drawings...
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Old Sep 20, 16, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
Yeah, those drawings are a bit difficult to decipher. In some, it seems like a complete gut and re-building. Would be difficult to sustain operations during that type of overhaul, I would think.

It would be nice to have all the terminals connected air side, but the biggest gain for me would be an express train from the loop out to O'Hare.
Interesting that is shown in all the drawings...
I'm afraid the express train is a pipe dream. You can't run it along the exist ROW without major addition of tracks to bypass stations (where there isn't room in most places.)

Worth a read:

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago...t?oid=21215854

The bottom line is that when you factor in a likely 4xhour schedule and the relatively short travel time on the CTA combined with 4-7 minutes between trains it just doesn't make any economic sense. Plus the CTA makes all sorts of useful stops where tons of people board and exit. Knowing Chicago politics, they'll wind up with about 12 stops on the express train once the Aldermen get involved (I need a stop for MY consitutency...) and any benefit is gone.

Last edited by milepig; Sep 20, 16 at 2:50 pm
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Old Sep 20, 16, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
It would be nice to have all the terminals connected air side, but the biggest gain for me would be an express train from the loop out to O'Hare.

Interesting that is shown in all the drawings...
It's a crazy fantasy of Rahm's, I'm afraid. He seems convinced that lack of a Heathrow Express-type nonstop train to the Loop is what stops Chicago from being a world-class city.

But a lot of users, especially Chicago residents, aren't headed for the Loop anyway. A ride would cost $25 to $35 and take 25 minutes. (Source.) The Blue Line costs $2.25 (leaving the city, anyway) and takes 30-35 minutes. Who's going to pay up to 15X the Blue Line fare to get there 7 minutes faster? Not enough people.

And even if you could find unencumbered right of way, the line would cost at least $1 billion Chicago has not got. It ain't happening.

On another note... the leaked high-level diagrams of potential ORD 2.0 terminal configurations sure are interesting -- especially as the majority call for T1 to be completely wiped out. And it's only 30 years old.
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Old Sep 20, 16, 3:00 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
]

But a lot of users, especially Chicago residents, aren't headed for the Loop anyway.
And even for those who are, a single express stop would be less convenient in most cases. The Blue line makes several stops in the loop, including one that's 50 feet outside my front door. Why would I pay $20-30 to take an "express" train that might save me 5 minutes only to then need to transfer to another train/bus to get home. Nonsense.

I love the Heathrow and Narita Express trains since the arrival at a single station (or 2-3 in the case of Tokyo) is far outweighed by the massive saving in travel time.
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