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Chicago — The nation’s air travel system is beginning a slow recovery after an alleged act of employee sabotage at a control center brought Chicago’s two international airports to a halt.

At the height of the travel misery Friday, more than 2,000 flights in and out of O’Hare and Midway airports were canceled.

As of Saturday morning, the two airports’ total flight cancelations for the day stood at more than 600. Southwest Airlines, the dominant carrier at Midway, was hoping to resume a full flight schedule Saturday after cancelling all flights through the end of Friday.

Lines were still long at O’Hare, where many stranded travelers slept on cots provided by the airport.

Authorities say a contract employee started a fire Friday morning at the air traffic control center in suburban Aurora.

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