UPDATED: 9/29/2014 6:08 p.m.
By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — Repairs may take another two weeks to fully restore operations the FAA air traffic control center in Aurora after a deliberately set fire crippled flight operations at O’Hare and Midway airports.
On Monday, the agency said it is launching a complete review of the incident.
The FAA says the goal is to fix most of the equipment by late this week or early next week but it wont be back to full service until Oct. 13.
For the first time FAA officials are answering important questions about improving its entire system.
For one, they say, they are working on new flight technology using satellites instead of radar. The agency is also launching a security review.
“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,” said FAA administrator Micheal Huerta. “If we need to make changes as a result of what happened on Friday to improve the system, we will not hesitate to do so.”
On Sunday, the first shipment on new equipment arrived. Teams in environmental hazard suits were hauling out the damaged equipment and working around the clock to install new equipment, run cable and restore network connections. CBS 2 has learned no one had written a backup plan for the equipment for an emergency like Friday’s.
“The individual damaged an ERAM computer that we never put a contingency plan into place for,” said Bryan Zilonis, Great Lakes Regional Vice President for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. “What our people are doing now in my opinion is very amazing with what they have to work with and it should be a playbook to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
Senator Durbin says there should have been a better contingency plan in place.
“It is a clear shortcoming when it comes to FAA services and we need to address it,” he said.