Report: FAA not prepared for major air traffic outages

An airplane flies between the air traffic control tower and the Washington Monument at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. For more than three years, the government has kept secret a study it requested that found air traffic controllers’ work schedules often lead to chronic fatigue, making them less alert and endangering the safety of the national air traffic system, according to report on the study obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A government watchdog says that the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t prepared to handle major air traffic control outages. That’s despite promises to update contingency plans made after extended disruptions in 2014 and 2015.

A report by the Department of Transportation’s inspector general says the FAA has been working on new contingency plans since a fire at control facility in the Chicago area in 2014 led to widespread flight cancellations and delays for more than two weeks.

The report says progress has been made on contingency plans for transferring responsibility for high-altitude air traffic from one facility to another in the event of a disruption, but the work isn’t complete. The agency has yet to develop plans for lower-altitude flights and planes in the immediate vicinity of airports, the report says.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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