U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration, early this morning, successfully restored full air traffic operations at the Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, IL, which suffered significant damage from a September 26 fire that was deliberately set.
During the outage, the agency also successfully maintained high traffic volumes to and from Midway and O'Hare, the busiest airport in the world. FAA technical teams restored all of the critical systems and equipment at the center last night, and air traffic controllers resumed control of the center's airspace from adjoining centers between midnight and 1 a.m.
The FAA continues to monitor deteriorating weather conditions forecast for the Chicago area and is working with all the airspace users to manage air traffic as safely and efficiently as possible. FAA technical teams who traveled to Aurora from all over the country to assist with the restoration effort will remain on-site until tomorrow to monitor system performance and ensure a smooth transition.
"The men and women of the FAA turned an attack on our air traffic system into an unparalleled display of team work, creativity and resolve. They got the system going again and continued to safely manage our skies despite such a significant disruption," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We appreciate the enduring patience of all travelers who were inconvenienced when Chicago Center was disabled. I'm proud of the team effort to quickly restore the system to near-normal capacity. The Department and the FAA are committed to learning from this event and plan to release a review of this incident."
The agency is conducting a 30-day review of contingency plans and security protocols for its major facilities as a result of this event.