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Salt Lake Flights Return to Normal

Salt Lake Flights Return to Normal

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Airport operations were back to normal early Wednesday following a radio failure at a Federal Aviation Administration control facility that tied up travelers for hours.

At Los Angeles International Airport, the outage Tuesday afternoon delayed some 400 flights. Two dozen flights at the Oakland International Airport and more than a dozen at Ontario International Airport also did not depart or arrive on time.

Seven flights were diverted to Salt Lake City International Airport, spokeswoman Barbara Gann said.

Thirteen flights from Salt Lake to Los Angeles or Las Vegas were temporarily grounded and five flights were canceled before operations returned to normal Wednesday morning, she said.

In all, planes were grounded for about three hours at airports in the Los Angeles region, northern California and parts of Nevada, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said.

The outage happened at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday at the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale. The station, located in the desert north of Los Angeles, controls airspace for a vast region that encompasses California and Nevada.

Control of the airspace was turned over to other air traffic control facilities, including one in Albuquerque, N.M., and about 20 planes were diverted to the Albuquerque International Sunport, authorities said.

By 8 p.m. Tuesday, the FAA allowed flights to resume at 50 percent capacity so that airports wouldn't be flooded with passengers, said Nancy Castles, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles International Airport. Air travel reached full capacity by early Wednesday, said Diana Joubert, an FAA operations officer.

All flights at San Francisco International Airport destined for Southern California were grounded during the communications problems, said airport spokesman Mike McCarron.

The airport's duty manager, Dennis Neves, said the airport accepted three diversion flights Tuesday evening that were headed for Southern California.

At the time of the outage, air traffic controllers could monitor the planes on radar but were not able to communicate with them, Brown said. The outage also forced pilots to switch to a different radio frequency to communicate with other control facilities.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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