The US Federal Aviation Administration will unilaterally impose capacity restrictions on Chicago O'Hare from November if domestic carriers fail to voluntarily reduce their autumn schedules at the country's most congested airport, the regulator warned last week.

The airport's two hub carriers, American Airlines and United Airlines, already operate a reduced schedule during peak hours to resolve O'Hare congestion. However, the FAA says that once these voluntary reductions expire in October, O'Hare frequencies could rise to as high as 132 arrivals an hour.

O'Hare has consistently posted one of the worst on-time performance levels in the USA since last November. Year-to-date figures show that 31.7% of departures are late, while 36.1% of arrivals do not land on time - at least eight percentage points worse than any other of the country's 30 largest airports.

Weather conditions contribute to the problem, but industry and government officials say the delays stem primarily from overcapacity.



Source: Flight International