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FAA blames flights' delays on communication breakdown

Flights delayed across the US

eTN  Aug 26, 2008

Problems with the FAA's traffic management computer system at Georgia facility caused flight delays at U.S. airports on Tuesday.

An FAA Web site that tracks airport status showed delays at some three dozen major airports across the country. The site advised passengers to "check your departure airport to see if your flight may be affected."

The delays were largely centered around airports in the northeastern U.S.

Outgoing flights to Atlanta from several airports were halted as of 4 p.m. Eastern time and were not expected to resume until after 5:30 p.m., according to the FAA's Web sites. Outgoing flights at the Atlanta Hartsfield and Baltimore-Washington International airport were delayed for more than an hour, and flights at other airports, including Boston's Logan International airport and Chicago O'Hare, were delayed for shorter times.

In addition, New York area airports were experiencing delays. La Guardia Airport saw delays of more than 40 minutes due to weather conditions, and some flights arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport were delayed by more than an hour, apparently because of the computer problems elsewhere.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen in Atlanta said there were no safety issues and officials were still able to speak to pilots on planes on the ground and in the air.

The Salt Lake City facility was having to process flight plans, instead of one in Hampton, Ga., causing delays in planes taking off. She said there were no problems landing for planes that were already in the air.

"There will be flight delays," Bergen said. "It could be any location, because one facility is now processing flight data for everybody."

Although CNN had reported that the number of affected airports was on the FAA site this afternoon, those details were later removed. The site was apparently overloaded late this afternoon on the East Coast.

Flights delayed across the US

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