Federal officials announced an agreement Wednesday to temporarily ease congestion at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, a bottleneck that has created a cascade of flight delays throughout the nation.
The reduced flight traffic is expected to cut delays at O'Hare, the busiest airport in terms of takeoffs and landings, by about 20% and across the rest of the national air network by 5%, reports USA Today.
According to Business Travel News, carriers agreed to limit arrivals to 88 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., effective Nov. 1. O'Hare's largest operators, American and United airlines, will reduce arrivals between 12 noon and 8 p.m. by 17 and 20, respectively, while other airlines agreed to other, unspecified reductions.
"We believe that we've reached an acceptable short-term solution that will significantly improve congestion at O'Hare," said Pete McDonald, United COO. "Over the long run, more needs to be done to equitably address O'Hare's congestion issues while responding to customer demand for service, including the ongoing effort to expand capacity through the O'Hare Modernization Plan."
"We need to steer a course that will keep passengers and the economy moving without stunting the growth of competitive service out of O'Hare," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said at a news conference at O'Hare with Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Marion Blakey.
Blakey said any carriers that wish to start new service or add to existing service at O'Hare will need permission from the FAA, as will any airlines that want to reschedule flights, informs Reuters.
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