Icy wings? O'Hare opens center to speed up departures

 
 
Updated 2/23/2019 7:06 PM
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  • The Chicago Department of Aviation unveiled a new tool Friday aimed at reducing delays at O'Hare and staying competitive -- a centralized de-icing center.

    The Chicago Department of Aviation unveiled a new tool Friday aimed at reducing delays at O'Hare and staying competitive -- a centralized de-icing center. Courtesy of Chicago Department of Aviation

After four years trailing Atlanta, O'Hare International Airport finally regained the title of the nation's busiest airport.

But one advantage Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has is winters with temperatures in the 50s and 60s compared to the frigid conditions the Chicago region endures.

The Chicago Department of Aviation unveiled a new tool Friday aimed at reducing delays at O'Hare and staying competitive -- a centralized de-icing center.

It includes an 835,000-square-foot pad -- the size of 17 football fields -- that can hold five widebody airplanes or 20 narrow-body jets at a time. The project also includes a five-story tower that allows airline employees to oversee operations and additional taxiways.

The pad will serve American and United Airlines aircraft primarily, as well as other carriers. The facility saves time and improves safety by moving de-icing from gates in the winter.

The de-icing pad is part of a series of capital improvements at O'Hare that include a new American Airlines hangar completed in January, and a new east-west runway on the north airfield set to open in 2020.

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