September 30, 2014
US air traffic control contingency plans and security policies to be reviewed by FAA
In a massive knee-jerk reaction to Friday 26th September’s fire at a control facility near Chicago which affected something like 3,000 flights, the FAA now wish to review US air traffic control’s contingency plans and security plans. They have already made it clear they are not afraid to make immediate changes if they are deemed necessary. Friday’s communications outage was caused by a contract employee. Damaging 20 of 29 pieces of equipment, this event clearly highlighted the vulnerabilities of the present system. Michael Huerta, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator, has made it abundantly clear that the FAA would undertake a 30-day review of the current contingency plans at air traffic control facilities and it would also carry out a full review of all security procedures.
This incident only succeeds in underlining the importance of the NextGen satellite air traffic control system which is due to be operational in 2020. NextGen will use global satellite navigation amongst a host of other new technologies to put more aircraft into the airspace and to improve the overall efficiency of air travel.
It should be noted that the fallout from the fire was still being felt on Monday 29th September with over 300 flights cancelled at O’Hare Airport.