On Thursday, city officials put a halt on bond sales that would drive further runway construction, as reported by the Chicago Tribune
The delay comes a week after two major airlines filed suit against the airport, claiming the $3.4 billion expansion would end up costing the airport and airlines more. The two airlines, United and American, have been struggling in light of the recession. Attorneys for the city filed a motion to have the suit dismissed in Cook County Circuit court.
Tensions reached a boiling point when the three parties – United, American and city officials – met in Chicago a few days ago in an attempt to reach common ground.
Senator Dick Durbin represented the city in the attempted mediation. While there were no developments from the meeting, Durbin had high hopes.
“I don’t want to presume what the answer is, but I think the two sides can sit down together and work it out,” Durbin told the Tribune. He went on to add his hope an agreement can be reached before Mayor Richard Daley leaves office in May.
Daley has not been shy about where he stands on the issue. Earlier this month, Daley defended the bond issue and expansion. In a separate Tribune article, Daley also made it clear why the expansion was necessary.
“We are not building the runways for the airlines today,” Daley said. “We are building the runways for passengers so there’s no delays in bad weather.”
In a report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, O’Hare ranked 10th out of the 28 busiest airports with the worst in delays. Midway came in dead last, according to a Fox Chicago News report.
More than 150 flights were cancelled out of O’Hare Wednesday due to the weather. Earlier this month, airlines cancelled over 500 flights as O’Hare got nearly half a foot of snow.