Chicago Serves More than 105 Million Travelers, Surpasses Atlanta as Busiest Airport in United States in 2018
New data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), confirms Chicago-O’Hare has surpassed Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for most departures and arrivals in the nation.
Up from third busiest airport in the United States in 2017, Chicago-O’Hare had a record-breaking 2018.
According to preliminary data from airlines, more than 105 million passengers traveled through O’Hare and Midway International Airports last year, surpassing the previous record set in 2017.
Also setting records, the total flight operations for O’Hare topped 900,000 for the first time since 2007.
“Chicago is proud to be the home of the best connected airport in the U.S., and now the busiest airport for total flights, as well,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The record number of passengers in 2018 is a testament to the investments we are making to build Chicago’s aviation future. With more people visiting Chicago every year, our modernization programs at O’Hare and Midway will keep passengers connected to our two leading gateway airports, and will fuel new opportunities for the City and the region for years to come.”
O’Hare handled over 83.4 million passengers in 2018, representing a steady 4.5 percent increase over 2017 and the largest year-over-year increase since 2015. Midway served over 22 million passengers, one of its highest volume years to date. These record passenger volumes include a more than 10 percent increase in international traffic fueled largely by O’Hare. This level of growth follows the significant expansion of air services by Chicago’s airline partners in recent years, with nearly 50 new domestic and international destinations added in 2018 at O’Hare and Midway combined.
Air cargo flown through Chicago also reached a new high again in 2018, with approximately 1.87 metric tonnes handled at O’Hare.
Today’s preliminary traffic numbers follow O’Hare being named best connected airport in the nation for three years running, and the second-most connected in the world after London-Heathrow in 2018. Chicago’s expanding connectivity has been detailed in reports by OAG, a leading air travel intelligence company.
Just in time a new $8.5 billion plan to expand O’Hare’s terminals has begun and will continue over the next decade setting the stage for O’Hare’s biggest terminal expansion yet.
The plan will provide for more gates and new passenger amenities creating new economic opportunity to support the City and its future.
These investments are a part of Mayor Emanuel’s O’Hare 21 vision, designed to modernize facilities, expand terminal capacity, and enable O’Hare’s future growth to better connect travelers and Chicago to other parts of the world.
In addition, the Midway Modernization Program (MMP) is a nearly $400 million investment in the future of Midway International Airport by the CDA and its airline partners. It’s the largest improvement program at the airport in nearly 20 years and will upgrade travelers’ experience flying from, to, or through Midway.
Final reports on 2018 year-end performance will be published on the CDA website this spring. For more information on airport performance for O’Hare and Midway, please visit www.flychicago.com
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