O'Hare's 66 global destinations make it the best-connected airport in the world

From Auckland to Zurich, O'Hare International Airport counts 66 global destinations in its roster.

And that hustle earned the Chicago institution a No. 1 ranking as best-connected airport in the world, city officials announced Wednesday. It's the first time the airport has held that title since 2016.

The global megahub rankings came from OAG, a travel data and analysis platform that looks at connections within a set time frame.

“Chicago's position in the middle of this continent makes O'Hare critical to the air traffic network not only across North America, but the entire world,” Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee said in a statement.

On O'Hare's busiest day, passengers had 43,350 possible connections within six hours, OAG researchers noted.

The airport was third in the rankings in 2019.

Runway improvements, including building a parallel system, have reduced “avoidable delays by 65%,” Rhee said. The CDA has added 29 new cities since January that include Tel Aviv and Barcelona.

Trailing O'Hare were Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in second place and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in third.

Among the far-flung destinations passengers were jetting off to or arriving from at O'Hare Tuesday were: Amman, Brussels, Frankfort, Guadalajara, Istanbul, London, Mexico City, Montreal, Panama City, Paris and Reykjavik.

The city is finishing a $1 billion update of Terminal 5 that includes more gates and will debut later this year. The next major project is a $2.2 billion Global Terminal offering domestic and international flights, which will replace the outdated Terminal 2.

“As we continue to make unprecedented investments in the airfield and terminal facilities at O'Hare, today's news underscores the impact of this work, and the future potential for our hometown airport to support new jobs and opportunities for diverse residents,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

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  Terminal 3 at O'Hare Airport in Chicago is busy in late July. John Starks/
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