O’Hare is the Busiest Airport in the Country and I’m not Sure How I Feel About That

I currently live in Chicago. I love the city but not necessarily the city’s main airport, O’Hare. When you compare the amenities and the operations at O’Hare to other airports around the country, I think it’s well below par. So it was surprising to hear that O’Hare is now the country’s busiest airport. It’s quite impressive when you consider that it’s not the only airport in the city (Midway is the 26th busiest airport in the country by the way).

For being the country’s busiest airport, it doesn’t have as many international flights as other airports in the US. It has very few flights to Latin American (United and American connect those flights to their hubs in Texas and Miami) and absolutely no direct flights to Africa (Ethiopian Airlines flies to Addis Ababa but it first stops in Dublin). The main US carriers at the airport don’t really seem to be that concerned with adding international service. In fact, American has been scaling back flights to Asia. The most significant international route to launch from O’Hare in the past year has been Air New Zealand’s Auckland service.

I hope that US carriers see this announcement as an opportunity to add more international destinations but I wouldn’t hold my breath. In fact I think this news might have the opposite effect and US carrier will cut back international service to increase domestic service. At this point, I think that the only way O’Hare gets increased international service is if foreign carriers introduce it.

What do you think? Do you think US carriers will increase or decrease international flights?

HT: Chicago Tribune