Daley, airlines postpone meeting to talk future of O'Hare

February 3, 2011

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A meeting to discuss the future expansion of O'Hare International Airport was canceled Thursday.

Mayor Richard Daley was scheduled to sit down with the heads of two major airlines to discuss funding for the project.

Mayor Daley wants United and American Airlines to help pay for Phase 2 of the O'Hare Modernization Program. And he wants to get started on that as soon as possible.

United and American are the two biggest carriers at O'Hare. The airlines say O'Hare's not busy enough to demand that the expansion start right away.

In an effort to get talks moving, Daley and the CEOs of United and American were supposed to sit down for the first time today. But the meeting was canceled because of the blizzard. Daley said he thinks they're avoiding him.

"I made another exception. The only time I've ever made an exception in 22 years," Daley said. "And I said, "How about that Sunday?" And they said, "No." I said, "How about Monday?" They said "No." Then they're doing it I think Tuesday - we think so."

That would be one week before the city's election day. Daley says he thinks the airlines are trying to wait to negotiate with the next mayor.