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FAA Sees Need to Up Flexibility, Accelerate Next Gen Following Chicago ATC Fire

By Juliet Van Wagenen | November 26, 2014
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Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Photo: Chicago O’Hare International Airport

[Avionics Today 11-26-2014] After reviewing contingency plans and security protocols after an October fire at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), the FAA is planning a series of changes that will lead to faster disaster recovery and more secure facilities and equipment. The review, called by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Administrator Huerta on Sept. 29, concluded that the FAA should immediately revise its contingency strategy and policies to support recovery within hours, instead of days, by creating more flexibility with its air traffic technology.

Acceleration of NextGen would provide that flexibility, according to the FAA. In response to the security review, the FAA will adjust and refine the agency’s risk assessment approach for both facility and personnel security, to ensure it can meet the unique needs of each facility.

“The FAA ensured planes and passengers landed safely when disaster struck, that was the top priority and we did it,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “But we can and will improve our contingency plans for efficiency. We have a national infrastructure deficit facing our nation from which the national aviation system is not immune. The FAA needs a stable and reliable funding stream to fully implement NextGen, which will further reduce delays and service disruptions.”

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