Equipment problems cause airline delays in U.S.

The problem affected an FAA traffic management computer system

Problems with the Federal Aviation Administration's traffic management computer system caused flight delays at U.S. airports this afternoon.

The delays were largely centered around airports in the northeastern U.S. Outgoing flights to Atlanta from several airports were halted as of 4 p.m. Eastern time and were not expected to resume until after 5:30 p.m., according to the FAA's Web sites. Outgoing flights at the Atlanta Hartsfield and Baltimore-Washington International airport were delayed for more than an hour, and flights at other airports, including Boston's Logan International airport and Chicago O'Hare, were delayed for shorter times.

In addition, New York area airports were experiencing delays. La Guardia Airport saw delays of more than 40 minutes due to weather conditions, and some flights arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport were delayed by more than an hour, apparently because of the computer problems elsewhere.

An FAA spokeswoman wasn't immediately available for comment on the nature of the computer problems or the number of airports affected. CNN.com reported that all major U.S. airports were affected by the computer problem at a facility near Atlanta. Problems processing data there meant that flight-plan information had to be routed through another facility in Salt Lake City.

Those two sites handle all flight plans for commercial and general flights in the U.S., CNN quoted an FAA spokeswoman as saying.

Although CNN had reported that the number of affected airports was on the FAA site this afternoon, those details were later removed. The site was apparently overloaded late this afternoon on the East Coast.

The problem was not affecting radar systems, and the FAA had not lost contact with any airplanes, according to several news reports. Travelers were advised to check with their airlines regarding delays.

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