Reno airport officials take gripes with FAA maintenance to D.C.
November 29, 2004
RENO – Reno airport officials say they are furious about Saturday’s breakdown of the instrument landing system and are taking their gripes to Washington.
It was the second time this month the ILS has failed, both times during a storm.
An estimated 2,000 holiday travelers set to fly out of Reno on Saturday morning were stranded when equipment used to guide pilots landing in poor weather broke down as a storm dumped up to 6 inches of snow. That delayed or canceled 41 departures and 28 arrivals.
“Why wasn’t this piece of equipment fixed?” airport spokesman Brian Kulpin asked. “That is a question we’ll be seeking an answer to all the way through to Washington.”
Kulpin said Krys Bart, executive director of the Washoe County Airport Authority, is going to Washington next week and plans to talk to the Federal Aviation Administration and elected officials about the problem.
The FAA owns, maintains and operates the ILS equipment.
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Kulpin said he knows of no other airports that have experienced such shutdowns because of an ILS failure, including airports in areas where inclement weather is common.
An official at Salt Lake City International Airport told a Reno newspaper he could not recall ever having an ILS breakdown that grounded flights. A spokesman for the Denver International Airport said only the FAA would know about problems with the ILS, but added that a blizzard was the cause of the last airport shutdown in Denver almost two years ago.
Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said on Sunday he could not access information on past ILS failures during the weekend.
“You don’t hear the reports (of that happening),” Kenitzer said. “We do have ILS problems. Equipment does sometimes fail.”