​ROUTES: Chicago seeks A380s for O’Hare

Chicago O’Hare International airport aims to have two gates capable of handling the Airbus A380 ready by the middle of 2016, as it courts additional international service.

Design work is underway on upgrading two existing gates at each end of terminal 5 at O’Hare to handle the A380, says Matthew Danaher, director of airline and industry relations at O’Hare operator the Chicago Department of Aviation, on the sidelines of the Routes Americas conference in Denver.

“We have category six [aircraft]-capable runways but no gates,” he says.

British Airways is “hot” to upgauge at least one of its two daily London Heathrow-O’Hare flights to the A380, adds Danaher. The Oneworld alliance carrier operates Boeing 747-400s and Boeing 777-200s on the route, Innovata schedules show.

Emirates, Lufthansa and Korean Air are other possible A380 operators at Chicago O’Hare.

Chicago continues to grow its portfolio of international routes. Finnair begin seasonal service to Helsinki – a route previously flown by American Airlines – in June and local United Airlines will add new seasonal service to Dublin and Rome the same month.

Danaher says the city is looking at some new “additions” to the roster of international carriers at O’Hare in 2016.

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