O’Hare May Open Up To New Airlines

CHICAGO (CBS) — The City of Chicago has struck a deal that could open O’Hare to Virgin America and other new airlines.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s David Roe reports, the new entrants stand potentially to provide fresh competition to United and American airlines.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s David Roe reports

After lengthy negotiations, Delta Airlines is set to hand the city control of the L Concourse in O’Hare Terminal 3. This includes five gates the city could rent to Virgin America, JetBlue, or even European charter tour companies.

Virgin American has been trying to get access to O’Hare gates for almost three years, as part of a plan to triple its size from 34 jets to 111 by 2019. Virgin international flights already take off from O’Hare.

CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl says Virgin could prod the other airlines to upgrade their service. Virgin America offers wi-fi in every flight, live TV, seat power outlets, and gourmet food, even though it is a low cost airline.

Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed the ordinance that would allow the city Department of Aviation to purchase the gates.

Meanwhile, Daley is embroiled in a disagreement with United and American over plans for the $15 billion O’Hare expansion program.

He met with United chief executive officer Jeffrey Smisek and American CEO Gerard Arpey in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, as the airlines continue to resist demands to foot the bill for upgrades.

Both airlines have filed lawsuits over the matter.

Daley complained last week that the airlines seemed to be avoiding him and trying to put off talks about O’Hare until he leaves office.

In a joint statement following Wednesday’s meeting, the two airlines said they and the city remain far apart and that they were “unable to reach an agreement that would permit us to suspend our litigation.”

  • Wally

    Love to see Montenegro Airlines set up at O’hare. Many people fly there with too many connection flights. Great profit potential.

  • http://topsy.com/chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/02/10/ohare-may-open-up-to-new-airlines/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention O’Hare May Open Up To New Airlines « CBS Chicago -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CBS 2 Chicago and Arci Jimenez, CBS Chicago. CBS Chicago said: O’Hare May Open Up To New Airlines http://goo.gl/fb/yZ4Wm […]

  • Craig Sturdivant

    Montenegro Airlines would never happen with their current fleet. I would love to see Vigin America in Chicago and an expanded jetBlue schedule out of OHare .

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/02/17/virgin-america-to-begin-service-at-ohare/ Virgin America To Begin Service At O’Hare « CBS Chicago

    […] Delta Airlines last week handed the City of Chicago control of the L Concourse in O’Hare Terminal … This includes five gates the city stood to rent to another airline, such as Virgin America. […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live