Actually, it isn't really, considering how much fighting goes on about O'Hare and Chicago's other airports, but Chicago officials, airlines and Illinois Congressmen have been jumping all over the Federal Aviation Administration's plans to extend flight caps at O'Hare Airport. Using an authority under the now-eliminated High Density Rule, the FAA and Department of Transportation can limit the number of flights taking off and landing at O'Hare, Laguardia, JFK and Ronald Reagan National. Last year, following years of complaints about delays, the FAA enacted a ceiling, resulting in a sharp decline in reported flight delays out of O'Hare. The new FAA flight caps would last until 2008.
Until this year however, the demand for flights was far below their 2001 peak. Now that flights are back up, airlines want to add capacity. Things get more complicated though, since Mayor Daley is now using the flight increase to push for his long-desired O'Hare expansion plans, smaller airlines operating at O'Hare are upset that United and American Airlines already own 88% of the flight slots and many northwest suburban village elections turned on support for or against O'Hare expansion.
The FAA won't say when they'll rule on extending the flight caps, but they should have a rule on O'Hare expansion plans by September.
Image via pietervleu at MorgueFile.