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Phone line issue delays flights at O’Hare, Midway

A problem with phone lines between an Elgin FAA radar center and other facilities delayed some flights at Chicago’s two airports Monday.

The issue involved several phone lines between the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Elgin, and the FAA’s adjoining en route centers, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

Aviation officials delayed departures for flights headed to O’Hare and Midway from Canada and Midwestern airports for about 43 minutes until the issue could be fixed, Cory said.

The FAA lifted the delay restrictions at 4:50 p.m., Cory said.

As of 8:30 p.m., roughly 105 flights have been canceled at O’Hare, where flights are delayed an average of 90 minutes. At Midway, flights are about 60 minutes behind schedule.

Crews continue to repair an Aurora radar facility, where a fire allegedly set on purpose by a contract employee on Sept. 26 ground Chicago’s airports to a halt.

Cleaning crews took out all of the damaged equipment and cabling over the weekend, and removed any remaining soot and debris, Cory said. FAA teams are continuing to connect and test new and existing equipment.

On Sunday, O’Hare handled about 99 percent of the two-month average air traffic for flights in and out of the airport for a Sunday, and Midway handled about 95 percent, officials said.