CHICAGO—O’Hare International Airport has been named the best connected U.S. airport in the nation for 2017, according to a newly released report by OAG, the authority on air service information around the globe. OAG’s Megahubs U.S. Index 2017 featured both of Chicago’s airports in the top 20, with O’Hare at number one in the country for domestic connections, outpacing other major U.S. hubs including Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, Los Angeles' LAX, and Dallas' DFW for best flight connectivity.
Additionally, the annual Megahubs International Index found that O’Hare, at number four, outpaced its North American airport peers for the for best-connected international hubs
“The 2017 Megahubs Index confirms what we have long known—that Chicago’s airports are among the best when it comes to delivering flight connectivity and a multitude of travel options for our passengers,” said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans. “Being ranked the top U.S. airport, and alongside fast-growing European hubs, like London-Heathrow and Amsterdam-Schipol, proves that O’Hare remains a top global gateway and a tremendous value for travelers in Chicago and worldwide.”
The Megahubs U.S. Index featured the 25 best connected airports in the country, finding both Chicago’s ideal location and scheduling top contributors to strong connectivity at O’Hare. According to the report, O’Hare scored a Connectivity Index of 455—more than 60 points higher than Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (ranked second) and more than 200 points higher than Charlotte Douglas (ranked third). Midway International Airport ranked 17, beating out both airports in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.
“O’Hare is the world’s top U.S. Megahub, thanks to its wide range of inbound and outbound flights and well-timed airline schedules not seen at any other airports in the United States,” said Mike Benjamin, COO of OAG. “As we have found with all Megahubs, O’Hare has done an impressive job of providing travelers with more options for ticket price, flight frequencies and available destinations—all of which provides for a stronger global network of air service and healthier competition for customers.”
Also boosting Chicago’s global connectivity is the fast-growing air service at both O’Hare and Midway, with airlines adding nine new domestic and international destinations served in 2017 alone. Furthermore, Chicago’s airports have added 16 new airline carriers in the past four years. Each route generates significant economic impact—with service added since 2011 estimated at a nearly $3 billion impact to the Chicago region’s economy. Growing service has also led to increased passenger volumes, with 100 million passengers travelling through Chicago’s airports today, up 17 percent from 2011.
The Megahubs U.S. Index, which focuses solely on domestic connectivity, is a new report to complement OAG’s annual Megahubs International Index, which has ranked the leading airports, including Chicago’s airports, since 2015. Last year, O’Hare ranked number one on OAG’s 2016 Megahubs International Index, which focused only on international connections. The indexes have since been separated to account for the dynamic conditions of the U.S. airport market.
In both U.S. and international reports, OAG looked beyond the size of an airport’s route network to measure connectivity by the highest ratio of scheduled connections to the number of destinations served within a six-hour window. Using the busiest day for global aviation, for the 12 months leading to July, OAG calculated the total number of all possible connections between inbound and outbound flights.
The Chicago Department of Aviation is committed to adding new destinations and flight options to better serve passengers here and around the world. This priority is reflected in the CDA’s ongoing plans to increase capacity and modernize its facilities, including an expansion underway at O’Hare International Terminal 5 to increase gate capacity by 25 percent. These and other upcoming investments at O'Hare are designed to benefit passengers with faster and easier connections, increasing Chicago’s flight connectivity and ensuring the airport is equipped to handle future growth and keep Chicago connected to the world.