Computer Problem in New York Area Delays flights For Up to Two Hours

Flights were delayed in the New York area for up to two hours because of a computer glitch in the air traffic control center, the government said Tuesday.

At 2:15 p.m., the host computer for New York Center on Long Island started having problems, so the Federal Aviation Administration went to the backup system at 2:38, according to agency spokeswoman Laura Brown.

The controllers lost their radar data and had to redo all their work, said Julio Henriques, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association local at the New York Center.

The glitch forced a halt to departing flights from Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports for 28 minutes, according to FAA spokesman Jim Peters.

As far west as Chicago, planes scheduled to fly into New York's air space were grounded temporarily, Brown said. As an extra safety precaution, planes were separated by 15 miles rather than the usual 5, she said.

"We're back to fairly normal operations," Brown said at about 5 p.m. "We're just trying to clear off the backlog."


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