Tribune reports: City-airlines O'Hare talks near collapse
Tense negotiations between the city of Chicago and United and American airlines over O'Hare expansion have almost collapsed, officials said today.
The acrimony between the two sides has run so deep that, despite agreements to meet almost every day, city and airline officials often convene in separate rooms, with officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation shuttling back and forth, according to city, airline and federal sources.
As I've said before, this is the issue that no one in the media seemed to want to touch, although the possible demise of Phase 2 of O'Hare Airport expansion may be one of the biggest that the new mayor faces.
The United and American airlines are digging in their heels not just because the recession has cut back on their business, but because they can't find a redeeming value in turning O'Hare into the most expensive hub in America to operate in.
This is precisely what expansion opponents said would happen, but who should care. It'll be just the biggest source of jobs and contracts for mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, and whether he decides to proceed with this fight will be one of the most important measures of whether he will do business the old way--which he keeps promising that he won't.