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More turbulence for FAA

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 1:25 p.m. ET

Airline passengers can anticipate ongoing delays at some of the nation's major airports on Thursday, thanks to an early-morning glitch in the Federal Aviation Administration computer system that handles basic flight plan data.

Problems with telecommunications equipment at an FAA office in Salt Lake City started around 5 a.m. ET, the agency said. The problems caused a failure of the National Airspace Data Interchange Network (NADIN), because it relies on the equipment based in Salt Lake City.

NADIN distributes information to air traffic controllers across the country before planes take off, and its failure will cause a domino effect through the rest of the day as air traffic controllers sort through backlogs that started this morning.

This is the second such malfunction in 15 months, according to the Associated Press. But many other systems were untouched: as The Post's Sholnn Freeman reports, NADIN does not handle radar coverage or communication with aircraft.

The latest malfunction comes amid a patch of rough news for FAA:

• The agency and Congress continue to debate funding to update the nation's air traffic control equipment -- a sensitive, costly subject. FAA's NextGen system will eventually switch the nation's air traffic control equipment from radar (now considered a technological dinosaur) to GPS. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that some lawmakers and civil aviation experts believe the implementation plans are too vague, while others complain it will take too long to put in place.

• Then there are concerns with air traffic controllers: The agency admitted last week that controllers and their managers violated post-9/11 guidelines by not notifying the military sooner about a Northwest Airlines flight that missed its landing at Minneapolis International Airport.

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 19, 2009; 10:33 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Comments

The Bush Admin spent countless hundreds of millions trying to break the Air Traffic Controllers Union. They demoralized the air traffic controllers. They promoted thousands of incompetents to supervisory positions in an atttempt to break the union. These incompetent "supervisors" were formerly admin types, had never worked as controllers, and most of whom had absolutely no supervisory experience, were given outrageous salaries. Those same people are now showing their incompetence in alarming ways.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | November 19, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The FAA is a government agency.That says it all.Somebody needs to kick some butt. HARD,HARDER,HARDEST

Posted by: rwilliamhayes | November 19, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The FAA is a GOVT run agency,

do you all want this type of performance from GOVT employees handlimg ObamaCare,

I hope NOT

Posted by: nobody2 | November 19, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

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