Computer Shutdown Snarls Travel at LAX, Other Airports in Southland

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Arriving and departing commercial flights at more than a dozen Southern California airports, including Los Angeles International, were delayed at least 30 minutes Thursday night while technicians at the Palmdale air traffic control center repaired a downed computer system, authorities said.

There were no safety problems involving aircraft or passengers, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The shutdown began about 6 p.m., during a period of heavy commuter air traffic, and lasted until about 7:30 p.m., said Elly Brekke, an FAA spokeswoman in Los Angeles.

Forty five flights leaving LAX were delayed, as well as more than a dozen flights departing from John Wayne-Orange County Airport, Long Beach Municipal Airport and Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport.

Immediately upon the shutdown of the main computers, an auxiliary system went into effect, allowing for limited computer use, officials said. As a precaution, no flights were allowed to depart for 20 minutes.

Incoming flights affected included any flight to the Southland originating from Seattle southward and from Chicago westward. Departures of these flights were delayed or rerouted.

Afterward, outgoing flights and landings resumed on a staggered schedule with some delays. The full computer system was restored at about 8:45 p.m.

"There was a problem with the connection between the radar and the computer that processes the information," Brekke said. "It could have been software. It could have been electronics."

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