March 12, 2018
Two airlines, two very different views of the $8.5-billion expansion of O’Hare International Airport proposed by Mayor Emanuel. American Airlines has resisted signing a new lease, contending that the expansion would give rival United Airlines an unfair competitive advantage and would also limit consumer choices.
For its part, United says it supports the “ambitious and necessary” expansion, which it calls “one of the city’s most important initiatives.” It also disputes American’s claim that United cut a “last-minute deal” with the City of Chicago that awarded it five additional gates, and says that American reached a similar agreement with the city in 2016.
Both airlines have launched websites laying out their positions on the expansion plan. Both have also urged Chicago-based employees to contact elected officials, including Emanuel, who reportedly would like the City Council to approve the plan within a month.
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