Flight cancellations continue after ground stop at O'Hare, Midway airports

ByABC7 Eyewitness News Team Coverage WLS logo
Friday, September 26, 2014
Some flights resume after ground stop at O'Hare, Midway
Flight delays and cancellations from Friday are having a ripple effect into weekend flights, though some flights are now departing Chicago airports on-time.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Flight delays and cancellations from Friday are having a ripple effect into weekend flights as airspace restrictions over the Chicago area continue.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, more than 630 flights were cancelled at O'Hare; more than 70 have been reported cancelled at Midway. However, some flights are also leaving on-time as scheduled. As many as 1,500 flights were cancelled at O'Hare Friday.

Southwest Airlines has cancelled all flights until 2 p.m., and said flights will continue to operate at a reduced rate Saturday afternoon.

"Yesterday we were very optimistic that we would be able to operate close to a full schedule today, coming in this morning, doesn't look like that's going to happen, sounds like the airspace restrictions will continue throughout the day, so we're going to work hard to be able to serve as much we can," a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said.

Southwest cancelled all flights out of Midway Airport late Friday afternoon, affecting 450 flights, which also affected travel at Milwaukee's Mitchell Airport.

Joe Harrison, a traveler, stayed at a hotel near O'Hare overnight, but got a flight out of Chicago Saturday morning.

"Just the fear of not knowing, but again, once we found out what exactly was going on, we understood it, and we were able to make nice, sound and informed decisions," he said.

The ground stop was triggered by a fire at an FAA facility in Aurora. It was lifted, but planes are moving at a "reduced rate." The headaches could continue for travelers for days due to extensive damage at the FAA facility.

PHOTOS: Fire at regional FAA facility grounds Chicago flights

FAA officials said a crew was brought to the facility Saturday morning for cleaning as well as damage assessment.

Airlines have been working with the agency's Command Center in Warrenton, Va., to coordinate service at Chicago-area airports, officials said. Controllers at other large facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas and Ohio have helped managed Chicago-area air traffic as well, officials said.

Airlines are urging travelers to check the status of their flights at www.fly.faa.gov.

Officials said the fire at the FAA facility was intentionally set, but is not considered a terrorist attack.

VIDEO: Fire set at FAA facility, police say