A hearing has been pushed back a week to March 1 on Chicago's motion asking a Cook County Circuit Court judge to dismiss a suit challenging the city's authority to proceed with $3.36 billion worth of expansion projects at O'Hare International Airport without airline approval.

The delay comes as negotiations continue between the city and American Airlines and United Airlines in an attempt to resolve their differences over the timing of completion-phase projects that are part of an overall $8 billion expansion.

"As a result of the continued assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, the city of Chicago and the airlines have obtained an additional one-week continuance in the litigation so that further discussions between the parties can continue," the city's law department said in a statement late last week.

If no settlement is reached, the hearing on the city's motion to dismiss would take place March 1 and the court would hear the airlines' request for a preliminary injunction barring Chicago from undertaking the completion-phase projects or issuing general airport revenue bonds to finance them the week of March 8.

The dispute over whether the city can proceed with its financing plans for the projects without airline approval forced officials to put off a $1.1 billion sale of bonds secured by passenger facility charges and federal grants.

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