For the first time since a fire was set in an FAA radar facility in Aurora last week, airlines had no “significant” cancellations at both O’Hare and Midway airports Saturday evening.
As of 8:45 p.m., flights at O’Hare International Airport were experiencing delays averaging 25 minutes, while less than half-a-dozen flights were delayed about 30 minutes at Chicago Midway International Airport, according to the city’s Department of Aviation.
Airlines did not report “significant” cancellations at either airport, the agency said.
Despite 260 cancellations on Friday, O’Hare had more in-and-out flights that day than any other airport in the country, according to a statement from the FAA.
The number of arrivals and departures at O’Hare and Midway was more than 93 percent of the two-month average for a Friday, the statement said. By noon Saturday, the number of flights at the two airports was running above 85 percent of the two-month average for a Saturday.
About 5:45 a.m. Sept. 26, a fire in a radar facility in Aurora shut down both airports.
The Aurora facility controls air traffic for flights traveling at 5,000 feet or higher over the Midwest. It’s critical to air travel all over the country because of its central location.
Brian Howard, 36, of Naperville, a former U.S. Navy sailor, is accused of setting the fire. He was hospitalized with self-inflicted knife wounds, but was ordered held without bond after a hearing Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court, charged with destruction of an aircraft facility.
Howard had been working at the FAA facility as a field technician for the Harris Corp., which manages the telecommunications infrastructure and is modernizing systems at FAA facilities across the country, Harris spokesman Jim Burke said.