The weekend travel plans of many Iowans were sidetracked by a fire in Aurora, Illinois at an air traffic control center. Sioux Gateway Airport director, Curt Miller, says things first started backing up there when a Friday flight to Chicago was canceled at 9:30 in the morning.

“Up until then it had just been delayed — had a couple of different delays. The last one was delayed until noon and then ti was delayed indefinitely,” Miller says. More than 2,000 flights out of Chicago were canceled Friday and over 700 more on Saturday due to the fire that authorities say was deliberately set at the traffic control facility by a man who later attempted suicide.

“That center controls a lot of the region’s airspace, it’s part of the air traffic control system. So they stopped all of the flights going in an out of Chicago in that flight area,” Miller says. Those who had flights to Chicago out of Sioux City or any other Iowa airport had to find an alternative to get to their destination. The Sunday night flight from Chicago to Sioux Gateway was 36 minutes late.

(Reporting by, Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)