Court hearings on a lawsuit challenging Chicago’s authority to proceed with $3.36 billion worth of expansion projects at O’Hare International Airport without airline approval have been pushed back due to ongoing settlement negotiations.
The two sides are trying to resolve their differences over the timing of completion-phase projects that are part of an $8 billion expansion. Attorneys for the city and American Airlines and United Airlines are scheduled to provide the Cook County Circuit Court with an update on settlement discussions on Friday.
If no deal is reached, the hearing on the city’s motion to dismiss would take place March 8. A week later, on March 15 and 16, 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 the expansion.
The dispute over whether the city can proceed with its financing plans without airline approval forced Chicago officials to put off a $1.1 billion debt sale secured by passenger facility charges and federal grants.