Smoke In Tower Forces Halt To All Chicago Flights
Smoke in a regional radar facility has forced a halt to all incoming and outgoing flights at both of Chicago's airports.
The Federal Aviation Administration says all its personnel were evacuated from the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON, facility in suburban Elgin at around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Spokesman Tony Molinaro says a ground stop is in effect for all flights in and out of O'Hare International and Midway airports.
Molinaro says inbound flights already in the air over the area were handled by a backup facility in the city of Aurora.
The FAA did not immediately release other details.
After a long and bitter debate, a partial deal has been reached to continue expansion of O'Hare International Airport.
It took the federal government to mediate negotiations between the City of Chicago and United and American Airlines, the biggest carriers at O'Hare. For now, the newly announced $1.17 billion dollar agreement funds parts of the O'Hare Modernization Program, including rerouting roads and installing a runway on the airport's South Side.
The airlines had long said that O'Hare isn't busy enough to warrant an expansion, but United CEO Jeff Smisek says U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood helped changed his mind.
"Do we need this runway today? Of course not. But we do believe that with time, we will and we're willing to help fund our portion," Smisek said.
When asked what the city gave up to move negotiations forward, Mayor Richard Daley would only say, "I'm not gonna mention it."
Negotiations over the rest of the expansion are expected to resume in two years.