Chicago O’Hare receives FAA funds for new taxiway

Washington DC
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Chicago O’Hare International airport has received a $10 million grant from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a new taxiway, which will allow for improved operations on its new parallel runways.

The grant joins $78.4 million from American Airlines and United Airlines, and $3.5 million of passenger facility charges to fund the $92 million taxiway LL project on the airport’s south side.

“United and American continue to support a demand-driven approach to the O’Hare modernisation programme, and thank the US DOT [Department of Transportation] for providing partial funding for the construction of taxiway Lima Lima [LL],” says Kate Gebo, vice-president of corporate real estate at United, in a statement. “This new taxiway will improve operational efficiency for the runways that have already been constructed.”

American and United operate large hubs at the airport and the latter is based in Chicago.

The taxiway will allow for separate departure queues for runways 10L-28R and 10C-28C, the latter of which opens on 17 October, and more efficient flow on 10L-28R, according to the city. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014 and be completed 2016.

The new taxiway is part of the second phase of the $8 billion O’Hare modernisation programme, which includes new parallel runways and other facilities to improve hub operations at the airport. The opening of 10C-28C marks the completion of phase one of the project.

A new runway, 10R-28L, is under construction at O’Hare and scheduled to open in 2015.

Separately, Fitch Ratings assigned an A- rating to the city of Chicago’s proposed $900m general airport senior lien revenue bonds series 2013A, B, C and D for the airport. Proceeds would be used for the modernisation programme, other capital improvements, to refund existing debt and to supplement a debt service reserve fund.