O'Hare Receives FAA 2012 Regional Safety Award

CHICAGO, January 10, 2013 - Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) today received a 2012 Airport Safety Award from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Great Lakes Region.


The award was presented to Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino by Susan M. Schalk, Manager for the Airports Division of the FAA Great Lakes Region.


In 2001, the FAA Great Lakes Region established this awards program to recognize airports, individuals, organizations and other aviation stakeholders that have made notable contributions to airport safety. The FAA reviewed the inspections of 94 certified airports in the region which have continually operated the expected minimum safety standards. In addition to O'Hare, two other airports will also receive FAA recognition this year.


"On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we are honored to receive this award from the FAA. We always strive to be the best in class and operating a safe and efficient airport always comes first," Andolino said. "I want to thank the FAA for being a great partner to the CDA and for recognizing the efforts of our outstanding operations team at O'Hare."


(L-r) Alberto Rodriguez, Lead Airport Certification/Safety Inspector, FAA; Ignacio Flores, Dep. Div. Mgr. FAA; Teri Brady, Dep. Reg. Administrator, FAA; Susan M. Schalk, Mgr., Airports Div., FAA; Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, CDA; Khaled Naja, COO, CDA; WIlliam Palivos, Dep. Cmsr., Airfield Ops/O'Hare and George Lyman, Gen. Mgr., Airfield Ops/O'Hare


Schalk stated that the management and staff at O'Hare accomplished several significant safety enhancements while safely managing the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP), one of the largest airport construction projects in the nation which is reconfiguring the airport's outdated runway system for future efficiency and capacity.


"Members of the FAA frontline safety team identified that O'Hare initiated significant safety enhancements worthy of this award," said Schalk. "CDA management at O'Hare has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to safety through its close collaboration with the FAA, airlines, pilots and its stakeholders. We are happy to recognize these notable achievements."


Three areas of outstanding safety work at O'Hare considered for the 2012 Airport Safety Award include: 

  • An enhanced self-inspection program which includes weekly supplemental day and night runway closures. During these alternating runways closures, the airport team (comprised of operations, multiple trades, FAA representatives, and consultant personnel) conduct a comprehensive inspection of the pavement and safety areas. While this inspection program can prove to be difficult given the 880,000 annual aircraft operations, the CDA works collaboratively with its airline partners and air traffic control to ensure minimal impact to the efficiency and capacity of O'Hare and the National Airspace System.


  • The airport is exploring new technologies to enhance its overall operation and is supporting FAA and industry on multiple testing programs. The airport is currently testing multiple detection systems which focus on Foreign Object Debris (FOD) on runways and avian activity around the airport. The airport has also developed an extensive and interactive, GPS based, documentation and work order system. With the help of this system, the airport is able to effectively record and manage the maintenance of the more than 7,300-acre facility.


  • In the interest of runway safety, the airport has expanded its airfield training program to require all personnel working on the airfield (non-airport and airport employees) to receive training in airport familiarization and other airport related subject areas. This enhanced training has been effective in reducing the risk of vehicle/pedestrian runway incursions and accidents at O'Hare.  

O'Hare has not had any violations of FAA14 CFR Part 139 in the last three years during its annual Airport Certification Inspections. In addition, the airport acted on safety recommendations provided by the FAA.