American Airlines has compromised with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in regard to the new construction project at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. The airline has been protesting the expansion plans for the last several weeks under the allegation that Chicago has given preference to United Airlines in terms of awarding United additional gates at the last moment. United Airlines' home base is in Chicago.
The new $8.5 billion expansion of Chicago O'Hare International airport would add 35 new gates to the airport and provide 25 percent more parking space for planes. The funding for the project is set to partially come from new fees that the city plans to charge airlines for using their airport. Most of the airlines have expiring contracts this year, and the renewals would reflect the higher fees.
American Airlines stated that it would continue to protest the construction project unless the Chicago officials were willing to speed up the construction of the three new gates that American Airlines would get to use at the airport. They said that this is the only way that the city could level the playing field.
Initially, Council members stated that they would not push the new gates for American up in construction time due to utilities issues in that area. The commissioners stated that there were many power lines in that area that had to be carefully moved before construction could begin, and pushing construction ahead of schedule could be dangerous.
However, after deep negotiations with the mayor, American Airlines was able to get a guarantee that the three gates in question would be pushed forward in construction. Once American Airlines received this guarantee, they agreed to the project. Official statements have not been made by American or United Airlines or the Office of the Mayor.