More than 1,800 flights were cancelled Monday as frigid weather caused a number of problems at both Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, including the freezing of equipment used to fuel the planes.
Southwest Airlines suspended operations at Midway until later Monday afternoon because of the refueling problems, but other major airlines including United, American and JetBlue cancelled a large number of flights to and from Chicago, Xinhua quoted Chicago Tribune as saying in a report.
“Extreme winter conditions continue to make it much more difficult to turn an aircraft,” Southwest spokesperson Brad Hawkins said. Further delays are being seen at the airports because airline personnel can only be out in the frigid temperatures for short time.
“Some facilities and equipment don’t work as quickly as a normal cold day,” United spokesperson Mary Ryan added. “We are able to fuel our aircraft, but fuel pumping is slower than usual.”
As temperatures plummeted to minus 26.7 degrees Celsius at O’Hare International Airport around 8 a.m., Chicago hit a record low for this date this morning. The previous record was minus 14 set in 1988.
According to flight-tracking service FlightAware, O’Hare international had almost 1,600 cancellations Monday, or about two in every three flights. About one-third of Midway’s schedule was scrapped, or about 200 flights.