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FAA: Communication breakdown delaying flights

ATLANTA — The Federal Aviation Administration said a communication failure Tuesday at a Georgia facility that processes flight plans for the eastern half of the United States was causing flight delays around the country.

"We have one flight so far that's been canceled," said Amy Caudill, a spokeswoman for Lexington's Blue Grass Airport.

The Tuesday 5:50 p.m. flight from Lexington to Atlanta is the flight that has been cut, she said.

She recommended that people check with airlines' Web sites before going to the airport to catch a flight.

Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport had not had delays Tuesday afternoon. "But that doesn't mean it won't change later," airport spokesman Ted Bushelman said.

An FAA Web site that tracks airport status showed delays at some three dozen major airports across the country. The site advised passengers to "check your departure airport to see if your flight may be affected."

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen in Atlanta said there are no safety issues and officials are still able to speak to pilots on planes on the ground and in the air.

She said she did not know how many flights were being affected, and she added that officials might not have figures until Wednesday.

Bergen said the problem that occurred Tuesday afternoon involves an FAA facility in Hampton, Ga., south of Atlanta, that processes flight plans. She said there was a failure in a communication link that transmits the data to a similar facility in Salt Lake City.

As a result, the Salt Lake City facility was having to process those flight plans, causing delays in planes taking off. She said there were no problems with planes landing.

"There will be flight delays," Bergen said. "It could be any location, because one facility is now processing flight data for everybody."