Communications disruption delays flights nationwide, FAA says

(File photo)
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

A communications failure at a Georgia facility that processes flight plans for the eastern United States was causing flight delays this afternoon around the country, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

FAA officials said the problem could trigger substantial delays for some flights at more than two dozen major airports. While there was little immediate effect on service at Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, FAA officials advised travelers to check with airlines at their points of departure.

Kathleen Bergen, an FAA spokeswoman, said there were no safety concerns at this time and officials were still able to speak to pilots on planes on the ground and in the air. She said she did not know how many flights are being affected.

Bergen said the problem occurred at a facility in Hampton, Ga., south of Atlanta, that processes flight plans -- information that is used by air traffic controllers. She said there also has been a failure in a communication link that transmits the data to a similar facility in Salt Lake City.

Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Airlines at LAX, said some American planes are experiencing delays at airports in the northeastern United States, but nothing major.