Buttigieg joins Lightfoot at O'Hare Airport to unveil major revamp of Terminal 2

The Transportation Secretary visited Chicago Monday, showing his love for O'Hare Airport.

"It is an absolute powerhouse that in turn makes Chicago and Chicagoland into a powerhouse for the American economy. And that's what we're talking about today," said Secretary Pete Buttigieg of the Department of Transportation.

Buttigieg joined Chicago's Mayor and other leaders to announce the FAA signed off a key environmental review for the Terminal Area Plan. It's a boring name they say will bring exciting things, especially for Terminal 2, which will be demolished and rebuilt as a Global Terminal.

"The terminal area plan in particular will improve the passenger experience with updated facilities and amenities reduce air taxing time and wait times for gates and cohesively integrate all four O'Hare terminal facilities," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.


That Terminal 2 revamp starts in 2026, but by spring, construction should start on two satellite concourses.

And there were lots of union workers on hand for Monday's announcement because the overall project called "O'Hare 21" is going to need a lot of workers.

"O’Hare 21 will add to this impact by creating more than 26,000 new construction jobs," said Lightfoot.

That's the plans for the future of O'Hare, but what should travelers expect this week as people pack O'Hare for Thanksgiving travel?

Secretary Buttigieg says we're in a better position than over the summer, as many remember those serious travel troubles.

"The biggest thing I want passengers to know is that our department has your back, first of all with transparency. And then secondly with enforcement. That's what we're doing with things like the announcement a few days ago that we have millions of dollars in fines. We've helped to get hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds to passengers who did get stuck. Our overall goal for us is to make sure that doesn't happen in the first place," said Buttigieg.

Buttigieg says the holiday week is off to a good start, and he believes this O'Hare revamp is key to making sure future travelers have a smooth flight as well.