Is there some data available which shows the intervals at which planes take off and land at Chicago O'Hare?

Just by taking a look around the last time I visited ORD couple of months back, it seems to be one almost every 10-15 secs.

  • $\begingroup$ The arrival and departure rates vary (mainly based on weather) - Are you looking for a rough average, or under specific conditions / at a specific time of day? $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 9, 2015 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ mainly looking for a general average for a month/year? I know the travel seasons or weather impacts it still, there might be some average which generally goes in. $\endgroup$
    – NitinG
    Jan 9, 2015 at 6:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NitinG: For big hubs like ORD almost all traffic is scheduled airline traffic, so you can get good estimate by simply looking at the schedule. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jan 9, 2015 at 7:58

1 Answer 1


As a general average, Chicago O'Hare (KORD) seems to do somewhere between 1.5 and 2 operations per minute (so roughly one takeoff or landing every 30-40 seconds).

I based this on data from the FAA's Air Traffic Activity Data System - Terminal Operations report, and specifically looked at November 23 through November 30 of 2014 (17835 operations, over 8 days works out to 1.55 operations per minute - I poked around randomly and found days as high as 1.7 operations per minute).

One of the limiting factors for number of operations at any airport is separation between aircraft, which is covered here

Incidentally we were discussing airport/tower activity levels in chat earlier today, and Chicago O'Hare is the busiest airport in the United States overall - a title it recently stole back from ATL (which was #1 from 2004 to 2013).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually, ORD has not been busiest in terms of operations until mid 2014... ATL held the title for the previous ~10 years I believe. $\endgroup$
    – slookabill
    Jan 9, 2015 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ @slookabill Dang, you're right! Fixed :-) (it's been one of the two for as long as I've paid attention, but I thought O'Hare had been on top for the last few years for some reason) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 9, 2015 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ @voretaq7 You could also change "in the United States" to "in the world," though either is technically correct. :) Beijing at #5 and Heathrow at #10 are the only non-U.S. airports in the top 10 worldwide when measured by movements. ATL is still tops by pax throughput (by a wide margin.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jul 4, 2015 at 7:24

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