O’Hare International Airport today welcomed British Airways’ state-of-the-art Airbus A380 superjumbo on its first scheduled arrival, bringing the world’s largest passenger aircraft in operation to Chicago. The arrival marks the start of Chicago’s first-ever regularly scheduled A380 service, now offered daily between Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and London Heathrow (LHR). The addition of the large and luxurious A380 will expand capacity on scheduled flights by 20 percent, expanding opportunities for international travelers in Chicago.
“This is an historic weekend for O’Hare International Airport as we welcome the world’s largest aircraft, as well as a number of new international flights served from Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Not only does new and expanded service like this strengthen Chicago’s position as a global leader in aviation, it creates new jobs and supports our local economy. As Chicago welcomes the world’s largest aircraft, we are also creating the world’s best airport.”
The British Airways A380 can accommodate up to 469 customers in four cabins, and two full decks. The aircraft is optimized for passenger comfort on longer flights, featuring spacious cabins and an advanced cabin air conditioning system that allows 15 different temperature control zones and cabin air that is changed every three minutes.
“We’re really excited that our A380 will be the first regularly scheduled service between Chicago and London,” said Simon Brooks, Senior Vice President Sales, North America, British Airways. “Our customers really love this aircraft, with spacious cabins and extensive entertainment options. This further extends our commitment to Chicago and the wider community and I’d like to thank the city and to the airport authority for their support in helping make this happen.”
To serve the A380 and larger aircraft used on international service, Chicago-O’Hare has invested in infrastructure to support its growing international operations. A new gate for Group VI aircraft has been added at Terminal 5, and plans are in place for a second larger gate, along with the construction of new extra-wide runways that can accommodate the largest aircraft that fly today.
“The addition of the new A380 and new international service today is great news for travelers in Chicago and around the world,” said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation. “Chicago O’Hare is the best connected airport in the world in large part thanks to the commitment of our airline partners who continue to expand service. Our terminal expansion plan for O’Hare and other initiatives we have undertaken are aimed at growing international travel and providing the best service to our passengers.”
Airlines at O’Hare International Airport are ramping up service to international destinations just in time for summer, including several new flights launching this weekend. American Airlines’ nonstop daily service between ORD and Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) was kicked off today with a celebration at the gate and remarks from officials with American and the Chicago Department of Aviation. Flights will be operated on a Boeing 787-8 aircraft and the seasonal service will operate until October 27, 2018. American also today launched year-round service between ORD and Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
“American is thrilled to connect Chicago with Venice, one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in the world,” said Franco Tedeschi, American’s Vice President -Chicago. “In addition, we are excited to welcome more Italians — like myself — to our fantastic city of Chicago to enjoy everything it has to offer.”
Another inaugural flight at O’Hare will debut tomorrow with LOT Polish Airlines’ new service to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) in Hungary. LOT will fly from Budapest to Chicago twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays using a Boeing 787 aircraft.
The recently-announced terminal expansion plans for O’Hare will further increase capacity for international service, with a brand new Global Terminal and the first new gates built in nearly 25 years. These investments are included under the $8.5 billion O’Hare terminal redevelopment delivered by the City of Chicago and its airline partners.