Yesterday’s incident in the Midwest that caused flight cancellation and delays is still causing delays through today.
Which is leading people to ask why the FAA isn’t prepared for these situations.
A control center in Indianapolis called in staff on overtime to patch together inbound and outbound routes for the Chicago area, said Douglas Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association labor union. But the process was slow and painstaking because there was no way for other Chicago-area controllers to send flight plans to computers in Indianapolis. That information normally gets routed through the Aurora facility.
“This is a nightmare scenario when we thought systems were in place to prevent it,” said aviation analyst Joseph Schwieterman of DePaul University in Chicago. “Technology is advancing so fast that … there’s less of a need for air traffic control to be so geographically oriented. I think the FAA’s going to find itself under a microscope.”
The FAA had no backup for this and yet, this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened.
In May, smoke at the Elgin facility grounded all flights out of O’Hare.
And here travelers flying out of O’Hare and Midway Airports thought the weather would be a hindrance to their travel plans today. Flights out of both airports are currently in a “ground stop,” meaning there are no flights arriving or leaving the airports, after smoke was discovered in an air traffic control facility in Elgin.
There are no back up systems for any of this.