MSP travel backed up by Chicago air traffic control center fire

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled at Chicago airports Friday morning due to a deliberately set fire in a major air traffic control facility, Chicago's WLS-TV reports. More than 60 those flights were between the Windy City and the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, according to records for MidwayO'Hare and MSP airports from FlightTracker.com.

According to the Chicago Tribune, police say the fire was not an act of terrorism, but rather a "local issue with a contract employee." The paper says the suspect was found in the basement of the Aurora, Illinois, FAA facility with burns and self-inflicted wounds. He was transported to a local hospital where he's receiving treatment.

Problems for Minnesota travelers

Effects of the fire quickly made their way to Minnesota. Chicago is the number one destination from MSP International, and by early afternoon, 22 flights to Midway or O'Hare aiports were cancelled, the Star Tribune reports.

"For people who are going to Chicago, just to connect with other cities, they may be able to reschedule and go another route," an airport spokesman told the Pioneer Press. "But if Chicago is their destination city, right now, there is no way to fly to or from Chicago."

One flight headed to Chicago from St. Cloud was cancelled as well, according to the St. Cloud Times.

Travelers heading to the Twin Cities from Chicago on Friday are having an even tougher time. ABC News reports 446 flights were cancelled out of O'Hare and Midway airports including dozens that were headed to MSP. Southwest Airlines already cancelled all of its flights to and from Chicago's Midway airport until noon, according to Chicago's WABC 7.

Delays ripple across the country

Chicago's O'Hare airport, which is a hub for both United and American Airlines, is one of the busiest in the country, according to data released by the FAA, and cancellations there could cause a domino effect through the nation's air travel network. As TIME explains, one problem for a major area like Chicago will cause delays and route changes across the U.S., even among flights that don't cross the area in question.

The Wall Street Journal reports the evacuated FAA facility handles high altitude flights to, from and over Chicago, creating a gaping hole in the nation's air traffic maps:

Flights in the region were resuming at a reduced rate by mid-morning, Chicago's WBBM reports.

KSTP was at the airport this morning and spoke to some frustrated passengers.

This embed is invalid

Next Up

Pixabay - crowd park outdoors CROP

New forecast predicts more than 4 million Twin Cities residents by 2050

The Met Council believes job opportunities will also steadily grow.

Mike Zimmer

Zimmer on unvaccinated players: 'Some of the things they've read are just, woof, out there'

The coach says he's doesn't understand why some players won't get vaccinated.

Ramsey County - Karina Her booking photo crop 2

Charges: St. Paul woman killed ex-husband, buried him in her back yard

A woman is accused of fatally shooting her ex-husband and burying him in the yard.

Screen Shot 2021-08-02 at 8.02.46 AM

Riverview Cafe in south Minneapolis closes, plans to 'reassess' its future

The cafe and wine bar was open in the Longfellow neighborhood for 23 years.

Pixabay - camp food fire

Bear sightings prompt food storage mandate up north

Visitors to the forest and BWCAW will be required to 'properly' store their food.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, August 2

The delta variant has been leading to higher case counts and hospitalizations in Minnesota.

Bloomington Walmart

Customers reportedly flee after scare inside Bloomington Walmart

People ran believing it was gunshots, but police say it was actually fireworks.

Racket website screengrab aug 2

New alt news site from former City Pages editors launches this month

Racket will be supported through a reader subscription model.

Flickr - Grand Canyon National Park - bison close-up

Dakota County to reintroduce bison to the area next year

The bison will be introduced to Spring Lake Park Reserve near Hastings and Rosemont.

Smoke and haze Minneapolis

Where to expect wildfire smoke in Minnesota on Monday, Tuesday

After a brief weekend break, the poor air quality will be back to start the week.

John Cena

John Cena surprises fans at Twin Cities screening of 'The Suicide Squad'

The entertainment superstar was in the Twin Cities for two purposes Friday night.

Related

Spirit quietly ended its MSP-Chicago route months ago

It was up against several bigger airlines.