A passenger plane takes off at O'Hare as work continues in foreground on the runway expansion project. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)
United and American Airlines on Tuesday made good on their threat to sue Chicago to stop the city from issuing bonds to finance the remainder of the expansion project at O’Hare International Airport.
The airlines, which say they cannot afford to help pay for new runways that will not be needed for years, filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court just days after sending a letter
on Friday to Mayor Richard Daley, asking for negotiations on the future of the O’Hare Modernization Program. The letter said the expansion must proceed based on future increases in flights.
“We do not want to litigate with the City of Chicago, where we directly employ 23,000 and bring in and out millions of customers a year. Regrettably, the city will leave us no choice, however, if it proceeds to prepare for the issue the bonds for this project,” said the Jan. 14 letter, signed by Thomas Horton, American’s president and chief operating officer, and Pete McDonald, United executive vice president and chief operations officer.