Eastern Iowa Airport impact of FAA computer glitch - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowa Airport impact of FAA computer glitch

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by Jason Epner

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- A computer glitch caused cancellations and delays across the United States Thursday, but the Eastern Iowa Airport seemed to be unaffected.

The glitch was in computers at a processing center, meaning flight plans had to be registered manually by staff.  The problem was fixed later Thursday morning, but not before it caused hundreds of delays or cancellations.

Eastern Iowa Airport Director Dan Mann said the computer glitch represented a much larger problem with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Talk to most travelers and they'll tell you the same thing.

"It's extremely frustrating to be on a plane and have to wait and sit and not know what's happening," traveler Mark Karwal said.

Mark Karwal travels for business several times a month.  Thursday he was headed to Atlanta, Georgia for a meeting.

"Just hope I can get there on time," Karwal said.

Dan Mann said its time for the FAA to transition to a more up-to-date air traffic control system.

"We always hear about delays, ground holds, too much congestion in the airports and a lot of this is because we have an old radar system, an old control system," Eastern Iowa Airport director Dan Mann said.

Mann and many others are proponents of the next generation air transportation system which relies on satellites.

Mann says the computer glitch would have been avoided with the new technology.  He said the new system would also allow air traffic controllers to track planes more accurately, meaning a more efficient process

"Congestion, convenience, fuel savings, safety, for all those reasons, NextGen needs to happen," Mann said.

Ultimately, Mann said, newer technology means less delays for travelers like Karwal.

"The system could certainly use more efficiency," Mann said.

The current system has been around since the 1950's.  Right now, the new generation system is all talk.  Mann says he wouldn't be surprised if we're still talking about implementing the new technology ten years down the road.

Online Reporter: Jason Epner
Online Producer: Mike Verlo

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