Tag Archives: airport

O’Hare workers to strike on nationwide ‘Day of Disruption’

(CHICAGO) Organizers of a Nov. 29 nationwide day of protests by hourly workers say a planned strike at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is only a part of their push for a $15 hourly wage and union rights.

In a news release, organizers say thousands of workers plan to walk off the job at McDonald’s restaurants and other fast-food spots in more than 340 cities. The planned “Day of Disruption” marks the fourth anniversary of the first protests at McDonald’s restaurants in New York.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1 said Monday that hundreds of workers will strike that day at O’Hare, one of the nation’s busiest airports.

O’Hare is the only airport where workers plan to strike, though organizers are planning protests at other airports.

The Chicago Department of Aviation says it doesn’t anticipate any disruption in service.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.</em

Hundreds of O’Hare Airport workers to strike this holiday

CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of O’Hare International Airport workers have voted to go on strike ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Officials with the Service Employees International Union Local 1 said Thursday that about 500 workers have committed to strike. Union spokeswoman Izabela Miltko-Ivkovich says the strike “will definitely take place in the coming days,” though she didn’t specify which day it will start.

It wasn’t immediately clear how such a strike would affect operations at O’Hare, which is one of the nation’s busiest airports. Auto club AAA predicts it will be an especially busy Thanksgiving weekend of traveling.

The workers who plan to strike include baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors and wheelchair attendants. They are seeking a $15 wage.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

18 passengers sue after fiery engine failure at O’Hare

The National Transportation Safety Board released this photo of the pieces it recovered from a high-pressure turbine disk that fractured inside the engine of an American Airlines jet that was about to take off from O’Hare International Airport on Oct. 28. | National Transportation Safety Board photo


(CHICAGO) Eighteen passengers have filed a lawsuit against Boeing and American Airlines after the airplane they were on caught fire last month on the tarmac of O’Hare International Airport when part of an engine failed.

About 20 people were taken to hospitals after the right engine of Miami-bound American Airlines Flight 383 broke into four pieces about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28, according to fire officials and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The suit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court also names as a defendant General Electric Aviation, claiming it sold a faulty engine that Boeing used to assemble an unsafe 767 aircraft. The passengers also claim American Airlines employees should have done a better job inspecting the plane, and that they failed to provide “assistance, supervision and instruction” during evacuation.

Spokesmen for Boeing and American declined to comment on the pending litigation. A representative for GE could not immediately be reached for comment Monday evening.

An NTSB report issued a week after the fire said one of the fractures on the turbine disk of the engine was “consistent with fatigue cracking.” Takeoff was aborted due to the “uncontained engine failure” that led to fuel pooling under the plane’s right wing, which then burst into flames, authorities said.

One piece of the turbine disk went through the inboard section of the right wing, over the fuselage and into a UPS warehouse facility more than a half-mile away. Another piece was found about 1,600 feet away, but it was still on O’Hare property, authorities said.

No fire breached the cabin, and the 20 hospitalized passengers had been released a night after the fire.

The five-count negligence suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.


Rockford airport expanding space for cargo aircraft

(ROCKFORD) Chicago Rockford International Airport is expanding space for cargo aircraft with the help of nearly half a million dollars in federal money.

The new 30,000-square-yard cargo apron will provide more space for the parking, refueling, loading and unloading of aircraft.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced the nearly $456,000 in funding on Tuesday. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The project is in its final phase.

Durbin said in a statement that the growth of the economy in northern Illinois depends on the area’s airports.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Flying out of Chicago? Arrive 3 hours before your flight

By Kathryn Vasel, CNN
If you’re flying out of Chicago’s airports this summer, plan to arrive really early.
Chicago’s two major airports — O’Hare and Midway — tweeted Tuesday morning that security line wait times are longer than average, and customers should arrive at least three hours before their domestic and international flights.
The TSA had previously been suggesting passengers arrive two hours early to avoid missing a flight.
Airport security lines have been growing across the country recently thanks to an influx of passengers, and the TSA has struggled to keep up with the demand.
Low airfare prices and a recovering economy have pushed more people toward air travel. While that’s good news for the economy, it puts a strain on TSA resources.
In 2013, the TSA had more than 47,000 full-time workers serving 643 million travelers. This year, the agency reported having around 42,500 workers handling an estimated 740 million fliers.
Last week, the TSA announced a plan to help reduce checkpoint wait times, which includes the hiring of 768 officers and more overtime and part-time hours.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s office announced Tuesday that O’Hare will receive 58 of the additional TSA officers and four bomb-sniffing dogs. No firm date has been set for when the additional screeners will start, but the canines will be on patrol this week.
But local lawmakers want more action.
On Wednesday, four alderman called for the city to apply for the TSA’s screening partnership program that allows airports to use private officers.
Airports in Atlanta, New York and New Jersey have made similar threats. Even when private contractors are used at airports, they are still overseen by the government.
O’Hare’s arrival time recommendation to travelers comes on the heels of a messy travel weekend at the airport.
On Sunday, the wait time at one security check point exceeded two hours, according to American Airlines spokesperson Leslie Scott.
The congestion caused 450 of the airline’s passengers to miss their flights on Sunday. Some fliers who were booked on the last flight of the day had to spend the night in the airport.
The airline also decided to delay 30 flights because of the long waits.
“That is a tough decision for us,” said Scott. “It has a lot of repercussions.” She explained that a plane can fly nine flights in a day, so a 20 minute postponement in the morning can grow to become a two-hour delay by the end of the day.
Since February, 4,500 American Airlines passengers have missed their flights at O’Hare because they were stuck in security lines.
“We’ve been dealing with this problem for a couple months now, and it’s reached a bit of a point of urgency,” said Scott.


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Waiver from fed ID law expiring, but Illinois licenses still good to fly

(CHICAGO) Although Illinois’ exemption from a federal ID law is expiring in just weeks, residents will still be able to get through airports with an Illinois drivers license, according to the state.

The department notified Illinois late Tuesday that its request for an extension of the federal “Real ID” requirements would be denied, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. The state had been granted two one-year extensions.

Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker said he doesn’t expect any major changes for Illinois residents for another 18 to 24 months. That might include additional security at airports, and changes in documents accepted at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

“People will be able to get on an airplane next summer with an Illinois drivers license,” Druker said. “They may have to go through some extra measures of security. We don’t know what that might be. It might be another line. It might be people asking them questions.”

The Department of Homeland Security will give the public at least 120 days notice before any changes are made that might affect travel planning.

Missouri, New Mexico and Washington also were notified this week about their extension being denied, although lawmakers in New Mexico have been told the state might get another extension. Illinois’ extension formally expires on Jan. 10.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the Real ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government set national standards for issuing IDs and driver’s licenses.

Illinois complies with about four-fifths of the federal law, Druker said, but the state needs another $50 to $60 million to meet the rest of the guidelines. One requirement includes issuing just one form of identification, an ID or a driver’s license, but not both. Another requires the state to take a resident’s picture first, not last, when getting an ID or license. It also seeks more-frequent expiration dates after age 65 in order to update pictures and information as a security measure.

There will not be any sort of physical change to the Illinois driver’s license, Druker says. The state’s enactment of the Real ID program consists solely of security and protocol changes.

“You have to make updates and improvements at every step, but it’s not like what a national license would look like,” Druker said.

Procedures for issuing Illinois drivers licenses do not fully comply with federal law. | AP file photo

Bensenville residents sue over noise, damage from new O’Hare runway

(CHICAGO) Dozens of northwest suburban residents, angered by a new O’Hare Airport runway that has sent a stream of jets over their homes, are suing the city, saying their homes have been damaged and rendered unlivable by the change in flight patterns, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The plaintiffs’ Bensenville homes “are extremely close the runway, and airplanes using the runway fly at very low altitudes directly over their homes and/or their immediate neighborhood day after day in an unrelenting fashion given the new runway’s flight path,” the lawsuit, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, claims.

Besides the excessive noise from planes landing and taking off almost around the clock—and as close as 100 feet above the ground—the air traffic has: “caused shingles to come loose; left an oily residue on their homes and property; caused cracking of walls, ceilings, windows, and foundations; caused leaking roofs; caused ceiling fans to come loose; resulted in soaring electric bills (due to the Residents’ inability to open windows because of the excessive and constant noise); caused intermittent loss of cell phone and internet connectivity; and caused intermittent loss of electricity,” the suit claims.

In all, 74 residents, many of them couples, are named as plaintiffs in the suit, which asserts that city officials “publicly assured the residents that this new runway would not have a material impact upon their lives, property, or neighborhoods.” The city, according to the suit, also repeatedly assured residents the volume of air traffic would not be significant or disruptive, but the suit concludes those assurances “remain untrue.”

The excessive noise has essentially rendered yards and other outdoor spaces unusable, “has dramatically and negatively forever altered the lives of the residents, and has caused their homes to plummet in value and to be undesirable, unusable, and unsafe.”

The lawsuit alleges the city’s actions add up to “unjust enrichment”—that is, the city is benefiting from the runway at the expense of residents without compensating them fairly for the lost value of their property, according to the suit.

Though the suit seeks compensation, it does not specify or even estimate what a fair amount of compensation would be. It does, however, note that residents should be paid more than the fair market value of their homes that value, the suit notes, to be based on what the homes were worth before the runway opened.

Hundreds of nearby homes and other properties, the suit notes, were purchased and demolished to make way for the runway.

A spokesman for the city’s legal department said it was aware of the lawsuit but could not yet comment.

Formal charges filed against suspect in Aurora FAA facility arson

(CHICAGO) Federal prosecutors formally filed charges Friday against Brian Howard, the Naperville man accused of setting fire to an FAA radar facility in Aurora last year, leading to a grounding of all planes at O’Hare and Midway.

Howard, 37, is charged with one count of willfully setting fire to, damaging, destroying or disabling an air navigation facility; and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Howard was initially charged in a criminal complaint affidavit filed after his arrest for starting the Sept. 26, 2014 fire, according to federal prosecutors.

Formal charges were filed Friday after Howard agreed to be charged by information brought forward by prosecutors rather than by grand jury indictment, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Howard entered the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora using his FAA-issued credentials about 5 a.m. on Sept. 26, prosecutors said. About 30 minutes later, he posted a message to Facebook that said, “Take a hard look in the mirror, I have. And this is why I am about to take out [the Control Center] and my life.”

Howard slashed several telecommunications cables with a knife and set them on fire before attempting to slash his own throat, authorities said after his arrest.

During initial court proceedings, his attorney said the Navy veteran had been told he was being transferred to Hawaii and was not happy about it. He had worked for Harris Corp. for eight years, helping modernize communications equipment at FAA facilities. He was fired shortly after his arrest.

The charge of damaging an air navigation facility carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, prosecutors said. The charge of using fire carries a mandatory sentence of 10 years.

Although no date has been set, Howard’s next court appearance will be for arraignment before U.S> District Judge Gary Feinerman.

Airlines cancel more than 280 flights at O’Hare

(CHICAGO) Airlines at O’Hare Airport Tuesday canceled more than 280 flights due to poor weather conditions on the East Coast, the Department of Aviation said.

About 45 flights have been canceled at Midway Airport, the department said.

Neither airport is experiencing delays.

The blizzard, expected for several states on the East Coast, is expected to drop anywhere from 18-24 inches of snow between Monday and Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Meanwhile, the city redeployed its full fleet of 280 plows to salt neighborhood streets early Tuesday ahead of the morning commute, which could be impacted by overnight freezing rain.

Switch problems caused delays on Metra’s Union Pacific/North Line Tuesday morning. Train No. 309, which was scheduled to arrive in Kenosha at 8:18 a.m., is running 18 to 23 minutes behind schedule because od switch problems at Lake Street, Metra said in a service alert on its website.

A freezing rain advisory was in effect for all Chicago-area counties in Illinois counties until 6 a.m., the National Weather Service office in Romeoville said.

Less than a tenth of an inch of ice was expected to accumulate overnight, but that’s still enough to leave untreated roads and walkways slippery, the weather service said.

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