Delta Air Lines is set to move into a new terminal at O’Hare International Airport Wednesday, the latest step in ongoing construction at the airport.
The carrier will move from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5, which was formerly the international terminal but now also includes domestic carrier Southwest.
The move comes as a $1 billion renovation and expansion of Terminal 5 is slated to open in phases through 2023. The work is expected to increase the terminal’s gate capacity by 25%, increase passenger amenities and security checkpoint lanes, replace the aging baggage handling system and reconfigure customs and immigration facilities. Work is also underway on a new parking garage, and new concessions are planned for the terminal.
Terminal 2, where Delta had been located, is slated to eventually be torn down and replaced by a new Global Terminal and two satellite concourses as part of a massive overhaul of the airport, but for now the gates Delta had previously used will go to United and Alaska airlines.
In Terminal 5, Delta will have 10 gates and is opening a new, 22,000-square-foot Sky Club with nearly four times the capacity of the old Delta club. The move to the new terminal marks an investment by Delta in an airport where it traditionally has not been a dominant carrier. It also marks a commitment to a luxury experience often favored by business travelers, as international and business travel have been slower to come back from pandemic lows than leisure travel.
“This is a long-haul decision,” said Steve Sear, executive vice president of global sales and distribution for Delta.
Delta said the move to Terminal 5, where it invested $50 million, puts travelers in closer proximity to the carrier’s international airline partners, eliminating the need for international travelers to leave security and travel to a new terminal. It also offers travelers the option to board at some gates directly from the lounge, without leaving to enter the general airport.
The carrier will gain some gates in the move, but said it has also been flying large planes with more seats in and out of O’Hare. The carrier has averaged 40 more seats per departure than in 2019 on its route to Atlanta.
This article originally appeared on Chicago Tribune