The FAA said "flights have begun arriving and
departing to and from the
area at a reduced rate." Over 1,800 flights at
O'Hare International Airport and nearby
Airport have been
cancelled. The FAA has conducted a
preliminary damage assessment, and expects to gain
access to the telecommunications area this evening to
conduct a more thorough assessment.
After technicians fully review the damage, they will be
able to develop a timeline for repairs, replacement, and
full restoration of services at the facility.
The FAA currently is managing
Center traffic through adjacent high
altitude radar centers in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas
Minneapolis. Those facilities are
working with the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach
(TRACON) facility in Elgin,
and other surrounding large TRACONs in areas such as
South Bend, IN,
IL, and Milwaukee,
to track flights on radar and manage departures and
arrivals in Chicago Center airspace. The FAA is re-routing
overflights around the airspace.
September 27, 2014 -
The Federal Aviation Administration reports it continues to
increase the air traffic flow into and out of the
Chicago-area airports today, following a criminal
incident and fire yesterday at a high-altitude radar
Air traffic controllers at
other FAA facilities safely managed about 60 percent of
the flights as compared to last Saturday at O'Hare and
over 75 percent of the flights at Midway. The FAA
expects a substantial increase in operational
capabilities by Monday.
The FAA is working closely with the airlines to manage the
traffic flow. The agency also has been able to steadily
increase air traffic and reduce delays by improving
direct communication between the FAA facilities that are
now managing air traffic in the
area, and by developing new methods for automatically
filing and transferring airline flight plan information.
Air traffic controllers initially had to file flight
plans manually after yesterday's fire compromised some
communications systems. The FAA is using all other tools
at its disposal to reduce disruptions as much as
After inspecting the damaged equipment at the Chicago En Route Center,
the FAA has decided to completely replace the central
communications network in a different part of the same
building, to restore the system as quickly as possible.
The FAA is assembling the new components at a remote
site, and they will begin to arrive at the center
tomorrow. Technicians will work on the installation
around the clock, to set up the new equipment, connect
it to several undamaged systems, and complete testing.
Cleaning crews are also continuing to work around the
clock to ensure a safe work environment.
The FAA is developing a timeline for transferring service
back to Chicago
Center, but in the meantime is working
to safely accommodate flights in and out of the Chicago area through its
other facilities, significantly reducing impacts on
- September 29, 2014 - FAA Administrator Michael P.
Huerta today announced the agency is conducting a 30-day
review of contingency plans and security protocols for
its major facilities, after a criminal action by a
contractor on Friday knocked out communications
equipment at an FAA high-altitude air traffic facility
in Aurora, IL.
"I do understand the traveling public's
frustrations with flight delays and cancellations,"
Huerta said. "The air transportation system is vital to
our economy and people rely on it to function 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. I want to make sure that we have
the most robust contingency plans possible."
The first shipment of replacement communications equipment
arrived at the Chicago En Route Center
in Aurora, IL overnight, and technicians started cable
work, configuration and installation today. The FAA
expects additional shipments of equipment to arrive
tonight and tomorrow night and has technicians and
material available to start quickly installing the
equipment as it arrives.
Federal Aviation Administration air
traffic controllers continued to increase the volume of
flights for air travelers into and out of the
Chicago-area airports today. By noon local time, more
than 80 percent of the average Monday traffic for the
past two months was flying in and out of OHare, and more
than 90 percent of the two-month Monday average traffic
was operating at Midway.