Dozens of BWI flights cancelled, delayed after fire grounds air traffic in Chicago

Impact at O'Hare effecting national air traffic

  • BWI's main terminal shows normal passenger traffic 11 a.m. Friday morning. Two flights to Chicago from BWI had been cancelled as of 11 a.m. A fire at a Chicago airport threatens to have a ripple effect on the rest of the country's travel schedule.
BWI's main terminal shows normal passenger traffic 11… (Barbara Haddock Taylor,…)
September 26, 2014|By Kevin Rector | The Baltimore Sun

Dozens of flights have been cancelled or delayed at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Friday morning due to a grounding of air traffic in Chicago following a fire at a nearby radar facility.

By nearly 9 p.m., there had been 38 flights cancelled and 142 flights delayed at BWI, according to flight tracker FlightAware.com.

Police in Illinois have said the fire at the Federal Aviation Administration facility in Aurora, which grounded hundreds of flights at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airport, was intentionally set but "is no terrorist act."

A contract employee was found in the basement of the radar facility suffering from self-inflicted wounds, police said. He was taken to the hospital and the radar center was shut down and evacuated.

The closure forced a groundstop order that halted all flights in and out of Midway and O'Hare, the world's busiest flight hub.

Southwest Airlines told passengers at Midway that all of its flights there had been cancelled. Southwest and its subsidiary, AirTran, are responsible for more than 70 percent of flights at BWI, and major disruptions anywhere in their system can lead to delays and cancellations at their Baltimore hub.

Jonathan Dean, a BWI spokesman, said the delays and cancellations at BWI were a result of the Chicago situation.

"This is similar to a weather event. The airlines are working with the FAA to manage flight schedules," Dean said. "Those passengers with flights to or through Chicago should contact their airlines for specific information."

The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

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