Infrastructure resilience: The Chicago fire

POLICE now believe that a Friday morning fire at a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facility in Aurora, Illinois was intentionally started by a contract employee who later attempted suicide. The blaze started in the basement of the the Chicago En Route Centre, which coordinates air traffic for much of the midwest, including Chicago’s busy O’Hare and Midway International airports. O’Hare is among the busiest airports in the world, and a main hub for United Airlines, one of the largest carriers. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, and tens of thousands of passengers delayed or stranded as the wave of flight disruptions spread beyond Chicago.Yet by early this week, the situation was already improving. One of the FAA’s most important facilities may have been badly damaged, but the agency quickly redeployed workers to other air traffic control centres. By Sunday, the agency was bragging that its controllers “safely managed about 60% of typical traffic…at O’Hare and over 75% at Midway.” Those numbers continued to improve on Monday, and the FAA said it had “set a target” to return the damaged facility to full operations by October 13th.All things considered, this is good news. The system was sorely tested, and while it strained under pressure, it held. There were fewer cancellations due to this crisis than were caused by a severe winter storm. The FAA has …

Link to article: www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2014/09/infrastructure-resilience?fsrc=rss

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