Agreement Reached to Expand Capacity at O'Hare and Foster Economic Growth Nationwide

With this agreement, work can begin on an additional south runway, as well as other airfield improvements needed to deal with increasing traffic at the airport.

“We appreciate the extraordinary efforts of Secretary Ray LaHood and Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois, in helping to reach an agreement that carefully balances the legitimate concerns of all the parties, allows us to move forward in a deliberate and prudent way, and resolves our legal disputes,” said Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines. “Today we reaffirm our support of Mayor Daley and our shared vision for a world-class airport at O’Hare. At the same time, the parties have crafted a plan that recognizes the turbulent conditions of our industry and allows us to continue a dialogue with the City over the best timing and pacing of construction going forward. As a result, we believe this agreement will benefit consumers, our shareholders and employees and the communities that we serve throughout the country for years to come.”

"Shortly after the lawsuit against the city was filed, Senator Kirk and I met with airlines and encouraged them to sit down with the city and work out an agreement," said Durbin. "There were many who were skeptical that a deal could be reached, but fortunately Mayor Daley was not one of them. I commend him and the CEO's of both airlines for their commitment to working hard to resolve their differences outside the courtroom. I also want to thank Secretary LaHood for engaging and bringing everyone together to reach today's deal - which is good news for the City of Chicago."

"The O'Hare Modernization Program is one of the most important economic development projects in the nation," Sen. Kirk said. "The deal negotiated by the City of Chicago and the airlines means runway expansion will continue without missing this summer's construction season. More importantly, a path is created to finish this important initiative that will help northern Illinois attract new businesses and create high-quality jobs.

I'd like to thank Secretary LaHood and his team for brokering this agreement that ensures O'Hare will continue as one of the nation's preeminent airports.”

The construction schedule presented today will accommodate the increasing activity without creating significant delays for passengers. The parties have agreed to return to the table no later than March 1, 2013 to negotiate the terms and timing of the remaining airfield components of the O’Hare Modernization Program. When completed, the program will provide needed airport runway capacity well into the next decade and beyond.

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