December 02, 2000

Chicago Sun-Times

Delayed flights at O'Hare rise 88 percent in October

December 2, 2000

BY ANA MENDIETA STAFF REPORTER

Putting a number to the pain of air travelers, officials said flight delays nearly doubled at O'Hare Airport in October over the same period a year ago.

O'Hare delays rose to 4,460 in October, compared with 2,371 in October 1999, an increase of 88 percent.

Nationwide, delays were up 55 percent over a year ago, with problems at La Guardia in New York leading all airports, the Federal Aviation Administration reported Friday. La Guardia accounted for almost one of every four delays nationwide.

Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Monique Bond characterized the increase as "minimal" and explained that it was caused by a combination of weather, air traffic control and labor disputes.

The FAA counts a delay as a flight that's 15 minutes or more late taking off.

"Weather was a big factor," said Tony Molinaro, FAA spokesman.

Delays at Midway Airport were considerably down in October (66) from the previous month (245), and well below the 183 in October 1999.

Delays due to air traffic control equipment grew 240 percent, due largely to power failures at the Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., air traffic centers.

Nationally, there were 43,794 delays in October, a 5 percent decrease from September, but a significant increase of 55 percent over October 1999, mostly due to weather and volume of flights. Delays at La Guardia accounted for more than 23 percent of the national total.