Flights resume at LAX after FAA grounding

A man passes by the LAX sign. / Michael Nelson, EPA

LOS ANGELES — Airlines resumed flights from Los Angeles International and other area airports Wednesday afternoon after technical problems at a Southern California control center prompted a temporary grounding of departing flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the order was due to technical problems at its Los Angeles control center.

Los Angeles airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said about 10 inbound flights were diverted to other airports and more than 30 flights were delayed in taking off by as much as two hours.

Inbound flights that had entered already airspace controlled by the Los Angeles flight center when the order was issued were allowed to land at LAX.

“All departure flights are now released and will depart with an expected one hour delay,” Castles said.

The “ground stop” order also covered nearby airports at Long Beach, Burbank and Santa Ana. Los Angeles International Airport spokeswoman Mary Grady said incoming planes were allowed to land during the period when takeoffs were halted.

“The FAA’s Los Angeles Center air traffic control facility experienced technical issues and stopped accepting additional flights into the airspace managed by the facility for about an hour,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

“Some flights were diverted and the agency issued a nationwide groundstop for flights heading into the airspace managed by the center. The agency is gradually restoring the system,” he said.

Los Angeles International is the nation’s third-busiest airport.

Twitter was abuzz with angry travelers stuck as a result of the order.

Mark Duell, vice president of operations for the flight tracking site FlightAware, said that the FAA’s Los Angeles center controls the airspace over southern California and parts of Nevada and Arizona.

The glitch that led to the grounding of flights headed to the region is “very uncommon,” he says.

“I can’t remember it happening in the last five years,” Duell said.

“They’re getting back to operating,” he added, “but it sounds like it’s going to be a pretty rough afternoon there.”

Rebecca Bloomfield, spokeswoman for San Diego International Airport said the ground stops were due to “unspecified issues with the equipment” at the FAA’s Palmdale, Calif., control center.

The problem occurred at 1:55 p.m. PST, Bloomfield says.

Contributing: Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

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