American Airlines Unveils New Maintenance Hangar at O’Hare

The newly opened American Airlines’ Hangar 2 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is the longest clear span, dual threshold airline hangar in the world. The new facility was unveiled at a grand opening celebration on January 25 attended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and more than 200 officials, customers, employees, partners, and vendors.

Ghafari Associates provided architecture and engineering services for the development of the 194,000 SF dual-entry facility, which can accommodate all aircraft variants in American’s fleet, including narrow-body and wide-body types. The facility also houses ancillary support functions, including a general back shop, a component staging area, and storage spaces.

“We were pleased to witness the opening of this state-of-the-art maintenance and engineering center,” said Ted Oberlies, senior vice president of Ghafari’s Aviation Practice. “It’s a true testament to American Airlines’ commitment to the future of its Chicago operations, employees, and customer base. We were honored to lead the facility design, working closely with American and a great team of consultants and contractors.”

Unique to the hangar is dual access entry, allowing aircraft to enter and exit from either side of the long dimension. Coupled with a larger capacity for aircraft hardstand positions, this feature offers greater flexibility in servicing American’s extensive fleet of aircraft. The facility is also designed with more than 20,000 linear feet of underground utilities, providing point-of-use aircraft services for safer, more effective, and timesaving operations. Additional key features of the design include the use of LED lighting and daylight harvesting, which will reduce energy costs while meeting the Sustainable Airport Manual requirements.

American hopes the new structure will improve and consolidate both line and base maintenance operations at the busy hub, allowing them to continue servicing one of the largest and fastest-growing aircraft fleets in the world. American’s Hangar 2 sets a new standard for efficiency and flexibility for maintaining the next generation of commercial aircraft.

Also in attendance at the event were David Seymour, senior vice president of Integrated Operations; Franco Tedeschi, vice president of ORD Hub Operations; Jamie Rhee, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation; and ORD team members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the new hangar to be used by American’s aviation maintenance technicians.

“Our team of highly skilled aviation maintenance technicians works behind the scenes day and night to ensure that our aircraft are safe for our customers and team members,” Seymour said. “The new hangar is a welcome investment in our Maintenance team and a win for our customers, who will benefit from improved operational performance as a result of quicker maintenance.”