- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 17, 2004

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines and American Airlines are offering to support temporary flight caps at O’Hare International Airport, but they want other carriers also to make schedule cuts to ease delays.

The two airlines, which handle 88 percent of all flights at the Chicago airport, also want the right to trade arrival times, according to documents released yesterday.

Meanwhile, smaller airlines are concerned that any flight cuts could further boost the dominance of American and United and would lead to less competition and higher ticket prices, according to the documents, which were submitted Friday to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Sixteen airlines participated in three days of negotiations earlier this month held by the FAA. Agency officials are trying to ease persistent delays at O’Hare that they say hamper the nation’s entire air system.

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta had said the meeting was the last opportunity for airlines to voluntarily solve O’Hare’s problem before the government would impose strict flight caps.

In January, Mr. Mineta, American and United announced a voluntary reduction in daily flight schedules by 5 percent between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The airport continued to rank at the bottom nationally in on-time performance, forcing an extra 2 percent reduction, which took effect in June. The total came to about 90 fewer flights a day for the two airlines.

About two-thirds of arrivals at O’Hare have been on-time this year, compared with the 82 percent goal set by the FAA.

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