• ITVI.USA
    15,378.070
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  • OTLT.USA
    2.743
    0.001
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  • OTRI.USA
    20.820
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.560
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.420
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.000
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  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,378.070
    -88.350
    -0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.743
    0.001
    0%
  • OTRI.USA
    20.820
    0.290
    1.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,350.040
    -89.040
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.280
    -0.020
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.190
    0.050
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.560
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.420
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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American Shipper

FAA to review contingency plans

In the wake of Friday’s fire, the agency will look at how it handles facility disruptions.

   A Federal Aviation Administration official announced Monday the agency is looking into its contingency planning three days after a fire at a Chicago-area facility halted flights at O’Hare and Midway airports.
   Both airports were completely shut down to traffic for a few hours on Friday after a contract employee started a fire in the basement of the Aurora, Ill., facility, from which FAA employees control traffic into the two Chicago airports. The fire damaged communications systems, and the agency previously predicted the damage wouldn’t be fully repaired until Oct. 13.
   By the end of the day on Friday, O’Hare was operating at 40 percent of its normal capacity, while 30 percent of the flights that route through Midway on a normal Friday came through the airport. During the weekend, agency said the number of flights rose to 60 percent at O’Hare and 75 percent at Midway.
   The FAA announced Monday evening that traffic flow was back to 80 percent of its average at O’Hare by noon on Monday, with Midway operating at 90 percent. On Monday, employees had already begun replacing the damaged communications systems with parts that had to be flown into the area.
   Addressing Air Traffic Control Association conference attendees on Monday, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization team will conduct a 30-day review of the agency’s contingency plans and safety procedures.
   “They will take a look at our plans to make sure we are prepared to both assure the safety of aircraft but also the efficiency of the system,” he said. “I want to make sure we have all the tools in place to get our airspace back up and running as quickly as possible.  I’ve asked the team to think as creatively as possible and make recommendations to me about our preparedness going forward.”
   On the security side, Huerta said the focus will be on making sure the “most robust policies and practices” are in place.  
   “This incident in Chicago is also a stark reminder of the reasons that we are working toward an even more robust and scalable system,” he said. “In the future, our ability to agilely shift air traffic management responsibilities between facilities is a key objective of NextGen. But getting there requires stable and adequate funding, the right people in the right place, and a sustained commitment to follow through on today’s plans.”
   Friday’s fire was more than just a hiccup in the nation’s air-traffic control hierarchy, according to Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. 
   “This is one of the most challenging situations that air traffic
controllers and other FAA employees have faced since 9/11,” he said in a statement. “The damage to this critical facility is
unlike anything we have seen before. Since the first moment when radar
scopes went dark at Chicago Center Friday morning, controllers have
ensured the highest level of safety at all times.”

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