CHICAGO - Chicago's $8 billion O'Hare International Airport runway reconfiguration and expansion program marked a major milestone yesterday with the official opening of the first new runway amid questions over airlines' financial support for the future phases of the massive construction project.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, other civic officials and airline representatives celebrated the opening of the $450 million runway by flying in the first plane to land on the new strip. It is expected to provide some flight-delay relief, although more significant relief is not expected until an additional runway opens in 2011.

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