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Michael Huerta: FAA to Review Contingency Plans for Air Traffic Control Centers

Michael Huerta

Michael Huerta, chief of the Federal Aviation Administration, has said that the agency plans to review existing contingency measures for its air traffic control facilities.

Huerta told a conference on Monday that the FAA will collaborate with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists over the next 30 days to examine the agency’s preparedness plan in case of emergency in order to keep the FAA’s system running for aircraft safety.

“I want to make sure we have all the tools in place to get our airspace back up and running as quickly as possible,” the FAA administrator told his audience.

“I’ve asked the team to think as creatively as possible and make recommendations to me about our preparedness going forward.”

Huerta’s speech at the 59th ATCA annual conference came days after the agency’s Aurora, Illinois-based air route traffic control center succumbed to fire, resulting in damages to Harris-built communications equipment.

“All of the equipment will arrive this week and we are working with the Harris Corporation towards a target of having the communications capabilities rebuilt and up and running by October 13th,” Huerta told audiences at the conference.

“As part of this review, we are also asking our security organization to review the security protocols at our facilities to make sure we have the most robust policies and practices in place.”

Huerta added that the FAA also plans to develop “more robust and scalable system” in the future under its NextGen program in order to “shift air traffic management responsibilities between facilities” when emergencies arise.

“But getting there requires stable and adequate funding, the right people in the right place and a sustained commitment to follow through on today’s plans,” he said.

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