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Chicago O’Hare International Airport Begins $334 Million Runway Extension



Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, one of the busiest aviation facilities in the world, broke ground Friday on the final piece of what will end up being a 16-year project to upgrade the airport.

City, state, federal and airport officials tossed the ceremonial first shovel-full of dirt to start the extension of O’Hare’s most-used runway, 9R/27L. The project will add 3,000 feet to the runway and will cost $334 million.

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This part of the multi-pronged overhaul known as O’Hare Modernization Project (OMP) is expected to be completed in 2021. The project began in 2005 as a way to increase the airport’s ability to accept more frequent flights by long-haul aircraft.

Previous parts of the OMP realigned the airport’s runways into six parallel runways in an effort to reduce delays.

“We are very excited to begin the final phase of the O’Hare Modernization Project as we move forward with our full vision for O’Hare airport with the $8.5 billion O’Hare 21 program,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement. “Chicago’s status as a global city rests on O’Hare’s ability to handle the ever-increasing demand capacity, and today’s groundbreaking stands as a major milestone in ensuring a seamless experience for everyone passing through our city for years to come.”

The completion of the runway extension will set up the final phase of airport improvements, an ambitious $8 billion project that will create a 2.2 million-square-foot Global Terminal at O’Hare.

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IATA: Damage to Air Travel Will Extend Into 2023



Any comeback by the beleaguered airline industry will extend into 2023, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airlines’ main trade group.

Long-haul travel will continue to lag behind and passenger fears about flying in general will contribute to the delay, Lonely Planet reported.

IATA estimates that passenger traffic won’t rebound to pre-crisis levels until at least 2023. It expects that global passenger demand in 2021 will be 24 percent below 2019 levels and 32 percent lower than the forecast the association made in October 2019.

The new data is based on a slower opening of economies and relaxation of travel restrictions. Lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders could return if the virus comes back strong in the fall and winter with a second wave, as some health officials have predicted.

In addition, another contributing factor is quarantine measures that have been instituted by various countries as well as individual states in the U.S. According to IATA, 69 percent of recent travelers that it surveyed said they would not consider traveling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period once they arrive at their destination. IATA is asking governments to find alternatives to the quarantine measures.

Of course, all of this is contingent upon the public’s willingness to fly—and instilling confidence in that will take time, said IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.

“To protect aviation’s ability to be a catalyst for the economic recovery, we must not make that prognosis worse by making travel impracticable with quarantine measures,” he said. “We need a solution for safe travel that addresses two challenges. It must give passengers the confidence to travel safely and without undue hassle, and it must give governments confidence that they are protected from importing the virus.”

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