TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Equipment Failure Disrupts LAX and Other Aiports For 90 Minutes

Equipment Failure Disrupts LAX and Other Aiports For 90 Minutes

Gillian Flaccus, AP (
Mon, 07 Aug 2006 23:01:30 -0500

Equipment failure disrupts LA flights
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

A computerized system that guides arriving planes onto a runway at Los
Angeles International Airport failed on Monday, delaying numerous
flights around the country.

Two incoming flights were diverted, others were forced to circle the
airport, and some planes were ordered to remain on the ground at other
airports, officials said. Arriving flights were held up about 90
minutes. Departing flights were delayed about an hour, and several
flights were canceled.

Airport authorities worked around the problem about an hour and a half
hour later, and operations were expected to be back to normal by

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the cause of
the problem was unknown.

The malfunctioning piece of equipment, called a localizer, acts as a
beacon to guide arriving planes onto runways. It is most crucial when
it is foggy or hazy, and it was foggy at the airport Monday.

Because of a runway construction project, LAX, the world's
fifth-busiest airport, has three working runways one handles
arrivals, one handles takeoffs, and one handles both. It was the
shared runway that had the problem.

The equipment used on that runway failed at 9:17 a.m., the FAA said.
Airport authorities responded by reversing the direction of the
runways so that the faulty equipment was no longer needed.

Before the fix was made, the number of landings, usually about one a
minute, was reduced by half, said FAA spokesman Mike Fergus.

Laney Fishera, 46, from Topsfield, Mass., said her flight from Boston
circled above the ocean for about 30 minutes until a runway was

"We had to fly over the ocean, which was really weird," she said.

LAX was hit with a major power failure July 18 that backed up flights
across parts of the western United States and Canada.

That outage happened when a vehicle crashed into a utility pole,
causing a power fluctuation that prompted the air traffic control
center's backup generator to turn on automatically. About an hour
later, that generator failed.

The airport averages 1,800 daily flights and will serve an estimated
18.7 million passengers this summer, 200,000 more than last year.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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