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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Violence in the Workplace: Chicago Air Traffic Control

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Travelers lined up Friday to reschedule flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after the region's air traffic control was sabotaged. More flights are resuming Saturday, but hundreds were also canceled.

The number of canceled flights in and out of Chicago crept toward 800 Saturday afternoon, as workers tried to restore one of the nation's busiest air traffic control systems. The system was crippled Friday, officials say, after a disgruntled employee set a fire in a federal radar center. (We updated the number of cancellations at 5 p.m. ET).

As we reported Friday, nearly 2,000 flights were canceled or delayed at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, throwing travelers' plans into chaos and disrupting flights that use the area as a hub. Today, flight-tracking websites show a few steady streams of air traffic in and out of Chicago — but the volume doesn't approach the area's normal swarm of activity.

Officials say the disruption was caused by a fire that forced the evacuation of a nearby federal air traffic control center and the declaration of a rare "ATC Zero" status — "shorthand for the inability to safely provide air traffic control," reports Air Transport World.

New details emerged late Friday about the suspect in the case, Brian Howard, 36, after the FBI filed a preliminary criminal complaint in federal court. It accuses Howard of sending a note to a relative Friday morning in which he bid them farewell and said he was taking down...

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