Delivering the Country’s Largest Airport Modernization Program
New Runways and Runway Extensions Within Existing ORD Footprint
Imagine the scope of an initiative that ultimately impacts 78 million passengers, 1.7 million tons of cargo, 878,000+ operations, 540,000 jobs, and $45 million in annual economic output. Not to mention the mandate to add one new runway, relocate three runways, and extend two more—for a combined total of 60 miles of runways and taxiways—all within the existing footprint of the airport. That’s the challenge that faced Ricondo in 2001, when the State of Illinois sought to address flight delays and airport caps at O’Hare International Airport by lifting a decades-long High Density Rule and issuing a modernization mandate.
Thanks to a long-term relationship with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), Ricondo was chosen as the most capable and well-versed to tackle this difficult challenge. Ricondo’s deep bench strength offered the CDA the ability to see the issue from multiple perspectives, by delivering numerous financial, cost-benefit, environmental, and aircraft impact analyses, coupled with simulation modeling, sustainability reports, federal grant applications, and liaison with federal and local agencies. The innovative Sustainable Airport Manual developed by Ricondo as part of the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP) has been lauded as an industry standard and has become a de facto blueprint for others to follow.
In 2005, Ricondo saw its initial work to fruition, when the FAA approved the OMP led by a 15-person Ricondo team. Flight caps were lifted and the first runway and runway extension of the OMP opened in 2008, with other runways completed in 2013 and 2015, respectively. The fourth and final runway is scheduled for completion in 2020.
Over the course of 30 years, Ricondo has served as a trusted partner and has continually assisted the CDA with various planning, environmental, and financial projects. Responsiveness, nimbleness, and the ability to work with multiple stakeholders have been key to Ricondo’s success, along with the ability to align multiple partners and to maintain consistency throughout the complex and nuanced processes.