Air Travel Delays Continue Thanks to Chicago Fire

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A fire that police said was started by a contractor at a Chicago area air-traffic center grounded about 1,600 flights across the United States Friday, disrupting major routes run by Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Continental Holdings.

While some flights have resumed, the Chicago ground stop that began around 6 a.m. is still rippling across the U.S., from New York to Atlanta to Dallas. Southwest, with about 90 percent of the passengers at Chicago's Midway, said it won't resume service at the airport, or at nearby Milwaukee, until at least 7 p.m.

The disruptions began when police and firefighters arrived at the Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, Illinois, one of the busiest U.S. air traffic-control facilities, at 5:42 a.m. local time, after receiving a call about smoke coming from the building, said Dan Ferrelli, a spokesman for the city.

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