Thunderstorms briefly halt flights in Chicago

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 11, 2011 11:28 AM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Severe thunderstorms rolled through Chicago on Monday, snarling air traffic at the region's main airports and delaying flights by almost an hour.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said delays at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport were about 45 minutes. At Midway Airport, delays were about 50 minutes.

Airlines with hubs at O'hare and Midway said the morning storms could delay flights all day throughout their systems.

"O'Hare was shut down for 48 minutes this morning due to heavy storms," said Ed Martelle, spokesman for AMR Corp's American Airlines, which has a hub at O'Hare.

"We have had just 10 cancellations and eight diversions. Those numbers should hold, but the closure effects will ripple into mid-afternoon."

The AMR's American Eagle regional affiliate has seen 39 cancellations related to the storm.

"Eagle has 312 departures at O'Hare, so 39 isn't really much of an impact," Martelle said.

A spokesman for Southwest Airlines, which has a hub at Midway, said it saw only minor delays and no cancellations.

(Reporting by Kyle Peterson and Karin Matz; Editing by Jerry Norton)