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PHOTO STORY: Inside American’s Hub Operations Center at O’hare

Since beginning operations at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in 1982, American Airlines has served a key role in one of the country’s most sizable hubs. The airline accounts for approximately 40 percent of all traffic at ORD with 527 daily flights to more than 120 destinations around the world.

In 2006, ORD played a crucial role in growing American’s global reach with a new route to Shanghai. This new flight marked the airline’s first route to China. Later in 2013, American carried 12.1 million passengers through O’Hare, and has consistently helped that number grow with more service.

American employs 8,790 staff members at ORD, some of which work in the Hub Operations Center. This operations center is similar in design to a ramp tower but does more than simply control American’s ramp area. Inside there are representatives from numerous agencies that assist American in ensuring efficient operations, such as maintenance staff, cleaning, catering, etc. All of these entities work side by side in order to keep flights running on schedule and passengers happy.

Not only does the operations center handle the movements on the ramp, but it also handles other aspects of American’s hub. For example, a representative from the company that caters American’s aircraft sits in the tower to ensure that there is a catering truck dispatched for any given flight. Near the catering representative, there is a staff member that oversees the fueling of American’s aircraft. This person takes the data from the main operations center in Dallas and passes it along to the aircraft fuelers on the ground. There are other people in the tower too, such as a maintenance supervisor who ensures that all aircraft are being properly maintained during their time at ORD.

On the other end of the center, there is a person who monitors American’s regional flights in and out of ORD, which include Envoy and Republic Airways. American has a sizable amount of regional flights that operate out of O’Hare to smaller destinations such as Fayetville, Arkansas and Bloomington, Illinois.

In American’s Hub Operations Center at O’Hare, all these aspects come together to ensure efficient flight operations.

PHOTO GALLERY:

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  • Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport operations and customer service while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with pursuing a concurrent MBA and law program. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. In addition to supporting AirlineGeeks, Ryan works full-time in the aviation industry.

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