Significant delays again at O'Hare and Midway
Some flights arriving into O'Hare International Airport from Canada and the Midwest experienced delays averaging one hour, 36 minutes Monday afternoon because of phone problems related to sabotage Sept. 26 at a facility in Aurora, the FAA reported.
Meanwhile, some flights destined for Midway International Airport ran into delays averaging 54 minutes.
The issue comes as the Federal Aviation Administration tries to recover from serious damage to its Chicago Center air traffic control center in Aurora on Sept. 26. A suicidal contract employee started fires in the basement and cut vital radar and communications lines, officials said. Chicago Center handles high-altitude flights.
The FAA has diverted the workload to other air traffic control centers in Elgin and throughout the Midwest.
The agency held departures for flights into O'Hare and Midway from Canada and Midwestern airports Monday "because of problems with several phone lines between the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Elgin and the FAA's adjoining (high-altitude) centers," spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Corey said.
"The FAA resolved the problem and lifted the delay restrictions at 4:50 p.m., 43 minutes after they were put in place."
Since Sept. 26, more than 1,600 flights have been canceled and there have been numerous delays. But both airports were getting close to a return to normalcy Saturday and Sunday, as repairs continued at Chicago Center, the FAA reported.
Chicago Center, which employs 400 controllers, handles about 3 million flights a year, or 9,000 a day.