The FAA has green lit the proposed Terminal Area Plan, paving the way for two new satellite concourses at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Following an environmental review, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has found there is “no significant impact" of the proposed Terminal Area Plan from the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). This means that the city can start work on two new satellite concourses at O'Hare International Airport — the new O'Hare Global Terminal that will replace Terminal 2 – and other associated projects.  

The FAA review process, which began in 2018, consisted of a complex technical review of the environmental impact of the Terminal Area Plan, or “TAP." This review, which is common for large airport capital projects, was required by the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

Key engagement included coordination with federal, state, tribal, and local officials, a two-month public review period, and two public workshops. All comments received from members of the public were addressed in the final Environmental Assessment. Among the key findings were that: there is no significant impact to the surrounding environment from the TAP; the TAP should ultimately cut emissions by reducing taxi times, and the TAP will not adversely affect the existing historic terminal elements, as determined by the State Historic Preservation Office in Springfield and the FAA. 

The FAA's decision clears the way for construction to begin on the satellite concourses and related airfield work when the ground thaws this spring. The current construction timeline calls for the first satellite concourse to be completed in 2027 and the second to reach completion in 2028.  

Image: Clayton Hauck for Choose Chicago / FCB