this year, the CDA opened two wine and piano
bars, Beaudevin and Bubbles, also at O’Hare.
O’Hare also has created a real “farm to table”
experience by installing in 2011 the first-ever aeroponic garden in an airport environment. Dozens
of varieties of produce, including lettuce, peppers,
beans and herbs, are grown in the garden and are
harvested for use by restaurants at the airport.
This takes the concept of providing fresh food to a
whole new level, as passengers can now enjoy produce that was grown just steps from the restaurant
where they are dining. These new concepts have
been successful through a process that creatively
identifies available space in conjunction with our
airline partners that may be interested in conversion of their exclusively operated spaces. This
process will continue with upcoming efforts to
procure new retail and food and beverage contracts
for O’Hare’s three domestic terminals, which will
produce growth in sales per passenger.
While Midway has been a success story, with
new popular additions that include frozen yogurt
purveyor Red Mango, and Sprigs, a salad destination, additional gains are possible. The CDA
currently is undertaking a procurement process
for existing spaces while also adding to the total
offerings by development of Midway’s new concessions area located on Concourse A. The new
Midway food and beverage program will increase
dining and retail options for Midway travelers and
will include a new food court area. New food and
beverage offerings will be located in the baggage
claim for meeters and greeters, as well as arriving
passengers, including a sit-down café.
In 2001, the CDA began the immense process
of modernizing O’Hare’s operational facilities
through a program known as the O’Hare
Modernization Program (OMP). The OMP and the
CDA merged into one entity in 2009. The massive
plan was designed to modernize the airfield,
while creating new opportunities for terminal
and landside growth. After a thorough regulatory
process, construction began in fall 2005, and initial
projects that included a new runway, an extension
of O’Hare’s busiest runway, and a new air traffic
control tower were commissioned in 2008.
Construction continues today, and the program is
on track to make O’Hare one of the most efficiently
operated airports in the world.
The OMP has resulted in substantial resources
being devoted to new airport development. The
CDA’s staff has grown in its expertise in managing such developments, and a robust network of
consultants, designers and managers has helped to
build industry-leading expertise in Chicago.
While a lot of this attention has been on deliver-
ing new airfield capacity, the CDA has adopted
some of these experiences in its concessions pro-
gram. For example, Chicago’s sustainable airport
development processes have been instrumental in
the new international terminal program’s devel-
opment, as well as in enhancing the operation of
existing concessions programs. The concessions
efforts include composting programs, as well
as encouraging new concessions locations to be
designed and built using sustainable practices
under the guidelines set out by the Sustainable
Jonathan Leach is general counsel of the Chicago Department
of Aviation. He may be reached at email@example.com.