O’Hare airport is a busy international airport located in Chicago, Illinois. The airport serves about 65 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo every year. It handles about 2,400 aircrafts per day. The airport is the second busiest in US after Hartsfield Jackson International Airport Atlanta (Lewis, 2014). In the world, O' Hare airpot is at the fifth rank in terms of passenger traffic and operations. From 2004 to 2007, the airport was voted the best in North America by Global Traveler Magazine. It is operated and managed by Chicago Department of Aviation. Majority of international passengers using the airport come from United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Tokyo while domestic passengers originate from California, Network and Texas. O’Hare airport is a critical transport infrastructure that has huge benefits to the economy of Chicago. The airport facilitates the movements of millions of people and commodities from across different regions, countries and states. Consequently, it has increased the accessibility and visibility of Chicago not just as a transportation hub, but as a business destination. Today, Chicago serves as the headquarters of over twenty Fortune companies that include Boeing, Exelon, Aon and Telephone and Data Systems. The city has thriving manufacturing, financial and publishing business that play a significant role in its economy. O’Hare airport is partly responsible for the diversification of the city’s economy. The airport has increased trading activities in Chicago thereby attracting multinational companies that are keen on tapping the benefits of increased purchasing power. Tourism is one of the integral sectors of Chicago’s economy. In 2012, about 46 million tourists visited Chicago (Bergen, 2013). Majority were domestic tourist from within Illinois and other states in US. In the year 2008, tourist spent $11.8 billion in Chicago (Goldberger, 2009). Although, tourist visiting the city are attracted to the beautiful beaches and parks in Chicago, the role of O’Hare airport cannot be ignored. Significant number of these tourists came to Chicago through the airport. Consequently, the airport has contributed to the number of tourists’ arrivals and the growth of tourism and hospitality sector in Chicago. The ongoing O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) has led to the expansion of road transport infrastructure within Chicago town. The construction of additional lanes and bypasses has hastened the movement of people and products to and from the airport. The program has reduced the travel time, costs and losses associated with getting to the airport late. The cumulative benefits of improved access to the airport have translated into good business environment especially for importers and exporters. Moreover, modern transport infrastructure stimulates economic growth because it facilitates movement of produced products. The airport is partly responsible for the increased Gross Domestic Product of Chicago. There are many companies, firms, organizations and agencies that have decided to put their headquarters in Chicago based on its reputation as a transport hub and link to other states and cities in US. These companies contribute to the national outputs of their respective sectors. The companies are engaged in various trading activities that support Chicago’s economy. These include offering financial services and producing goods for export. The passengers passing through O’Hare spend their money buying goods and services in Chicago. These passengers are responsible for the increased spending in Chicago city. Increased spending leads to high income for businesses. It also boosts production of goods and services. High productivity among citizens is a catalyst for economic growth and development (Setterfield, 2010). It also encourages innovation and transfer of technology. A growing number of businesses in Chicago brought about by the presence of O’Hare international airport generate employment opportunities for residents of Chicago. The increased income received from passengers enables the business to cover their operational costs, expand and hire additional staff. Moreover, O’Hare directly and indirectly employs thousands of people in Chicago. There are people working as staffs at the airport while others are engaged in the production of goods and services that are required by the airport. These people spend part of their income in Chicago thus pay taxes that are used for development. The airport has enabled the businesses based in Chicago to access to both local and international markets. There are many airlines that have operations at the airport. They include British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Qatar Airways and Korean Air. These airlines help the companies to distribute the products across many regions in the world. Consequently, the business using the airport benefit from increased sales and revenues and reduced distribution costs. These factors translate to higher profits and increased investments Majority of the passengers, about 45% received by the airport are United Airlines (O’Hare Airport Introduction”). The other airline with large operations in O’Hare is the American Airlines. The two airlines carry over 70% of the passengers served by the airport. Consequently, they have significant impacts on airport’s operations, income and revenue. The American Airlines and United Airlines carry business people who are scanning for investment and business opportunities in Chicago and other parts of Illinois. The business travelers spend a large amount of money in Chicago apart from putting up investment in the City.
Setterfield, M. (2010). Handbook of alternative theories of economic growth. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
O'Hare Airport Introduction. (n.d.). Ctrip. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://english.ctrip.com/flights/airport-ord/o%27hare-airport/
Goldberger, B. (2009, September 22). Chicago Tourism: $11.8 Bilion Came From Over 45 Million Tourists In '08. The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/22/chicago-tourism-118-bilio_n_295235.html
Bergen, K. (2013, September 6). Chicago has record 46.37 million tourists. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-09-06/travel/chi-chicago-tourism-20130906_1_choose-chicago-international-visitors-percent-rise
Lewis, L. (2014, January 22). Chicago's O'Hare Airport ranked second busiest in the world. Chicago Business Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2014/01/21/chicagosohare-airport-ranked-second-busiest-in-the.htm