November 22, 2000 Chicago Tribune


Craig Burzych
November 22, 2000

CHICAGO -- This is in response to your story on flight delays that appeared in the Nov. 19 Tribune.

The suggestion that air-traffic controllers in O'Hare Tower gave preferential treatment to United Flight 43 (O'Hare to Honolulu) is entirely false. United Flight 43 made a special request to depart runway 14-right because the heavy weight of the aircraft required a longer runway. This happens almost daily at O'Hare with United 43 and other departures as well.

The controller did his job and accommodated the pilot's request.

United 43 departed when he reached the runway because inbound traffic at the time was light and the controller had an opportunity to get him airborne.

Had United 43 arrived at the runway during a time of heavy arrivals, he would have been delayed indefinitely.

The situation with United 43 was explained to Tribune reporters on several occasions and yet they still chose to publicly criticize us for the way we handled this flight.

Unfortunately, the writers made no mention of the stress and anxiety that controllers go through on days like Sept. 11.

Nor did they mention the hard work and dedication it takes from air-traffic controllers to keep the system together on days like this.

United 43 did not receive preferential treatment in any way, shape or form.