FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2012
AFTER SCHUMER’S PUSH, ITHACA AIRPORT IS BACK AND FULLY OPEN FOR BUSINESS – FAA MAKES LIGHTNING-FAST REPAIRS TO CRITICAL NAVIGATION EQUIPMENT AT ITHACA-TOMPKINS AIRPORT, ENDING CANCELLED & DIVERTED FLIGHTS
This Week, Schumer Called on the FAA to Swiftly Fix
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has heeded his call and located replacement parts for the broken navigation equipment at the Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport, that had already forced five flight cancellations at the time of his push earlier this week. Schumer applauded the FAA’s quick turnaround in locating the crystals that are critical to repairing the Instrument Landing System GlideSlope Transmitter that helps pilots navigate landings during bad weather. At Schumer’s urging, the FAA quickly installed this equipment to repair the GlideSlope transmitter in Ithaca, which means that the airport is once again fully operational.
“With graduation season right around the corner, I’m very pleased that the FAA heeded the call to prioritize fixing critical navigation equipment at the Ithaca Airport to avoid any further cancelled flights and loss of business opportunity in the region,” said Schumer. “Repairs to Ithaca-Tompkins’s vital equipment are complete, and this speedy fix means that all flights will be set for lift off again in the very near future. I applaud the FAA for so quickly answering my call and putting these repairs at the top of their project list, which will get flights in and out of Ithaca moving again at full capacity at the airport - a huge driver for local business and the local economy.”
“The airport went to Senator Schumer with a problem that looked like it would take 4 to 6 weeks to solve,” said Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport Manager Robert Nicholas. “Thanks to his immediate intervention on our behalf, the problem has been resolved in about 48 hours. The airport and the thousands of people who use it are very grateful for his help.”
The GlideSlope transmitter to Runway 32 at the airport initially failed on March 28th of this year. As of April 10th, five flights had been cancelled at Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport, and additional flights were delayed or diverted on April 11th as a result of this outage. The Glideslope provides vertical guidance to aircraft landing on the runway and is particularly useful during inclement weather and poor visibility. The part broke due to wear and tear associated with old age, and to complete the repairs on the system requires the installation of new crystals into the glideslope. Luckily, the FAA has located spare crystals in another airport, which avoids the need for the manufacturer to actually “grow” the crystals, a process that could have taken approximately 4-6 weeks before delivery. Earlier this week, Schumer called for that timeline to be accelerated, and these spare crystals allowed the FAA to fix the broken navigation equipment more quickly than previously anticipated. Ithaca Airport staff noted that installation and a necessary FAA Flight Check are complete, which brings the Glideslope and full instrument system to service.
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