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Press Release – Updated FAA Statement–Event at Chicago Air Traffic Facility

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2014
Contact: Tony Molinaro/ Elizabeth Cory
Phone: (847) 294-7427/(847) 294-7849

The Federal Aviation Administration evacuated its Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, IL just before 6 a.m. local time on Friday, September 26, because of a fire reported in a basement telecommunications room. Air traffic controllers immediately transferred airspace management to adjacent air traffic facilities and the FAA put other steps in place to manage the traffic.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the incident and the FAA is supporting the investigation. 

The FAA has conducted a preliminary damage assessment, and expects to gain access to the telecommunications area this evening to conduct a more thorough assessment. After technicians fully review the damage, they will be able to develop a timeline for repairs, replacement, and full restoration of services at the facility.

The FAA currently is managing Chicago Center traffic through adjacent high altitude radar centers in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. Those facilities are working with the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach (TRACON) facility in Elgin, Illinois and other surrounding large TRACONs in areas such as South Bend, IN, Rockford and Moline IL, and Milwaukee, WI to track flights on radar and manage departures and arrivals in Chicago Center airspace. The FAA is re-routing overflights around the airspace.

Flights are currently arriving and departing in the Chicago area at a reduced rate. The FAA is using all of its available air traffic tools to maximize capacity at the Chicago-area airports. The FAA will continue working with operators through the weekend to reduce disruptions. Travelers are encouraged to contact their airlines for further information about specific flights.