LAWSUIT TO DELAY EXPANSION OF CHICAGO O’HARE INTERNATIONAL

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore February 11, 2011 17:49

LAWSUIT TO DELAY EXPANSION OF CHICAGO O’HARE INTERNATIONAL

American Airlines and United Continental say they’ll slow the pace of a lawsuit seeking to delay a $3.4 billion expansion of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in hopes of reaching an accord with the city.
United, a unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. today issued a joint statement with American saying they agreed with the city to delay by five days an Illinois state court case in which they sought to stop the sale of bonds to finance the expansion.

“The delay, requested by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is aimed at affording the parties time to engage in discussions to explore alternatives to the litigation,” the carriers said.

United and American, a unit of Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., are the city’s primary tenants at O’Hare, the second- busiest U.S. airport, and account for 80% of its passenger traffic.

The airlines, which filed their lawsuit on Jan. 18, argue that O’Hare passenger traffic has declined in recent years, lessening the urgency for a project that includes realigned runways and a new terminal.

The agreement delays arguments set for Feb. 14 on a city motion to dismiss the suit and a Feb. 22 and 23 hearing on an injunction sought by the airlines.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Richard Billik will now hear arguments on the dismissal request on Feb. 22 while the latter hearing will now start on March 1, the airlines said.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore February 11, 2011 17:49
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