Denver airport departures halted

Thursday, May 20, 2004

DENVER -- Departing flights were grounded at Denver International Airport for about an hour Wednesday evening when the airport's main radar failed.

The radar was restored and takeoffs resumed shortly after 7 p.m., said Chuck Cannon, a spokesman for the airport, the nation's fifth-busiest.

The cause of the failure wasn't immediately known. The problem was probably mechanical, and foul play was not suspected. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

Outbound flights were halted at about 6 p.m., Cannon said. A few flights continued to land with the help of another FAA radar facility in Longmont, about 25 miles northwest.

Other flights were diverted to airports in Colorado Springs, about 55 miles to the south, and Fort Collins, about 50 miles north.

"We took delays both inbound and outbound, but we did not have to cancel any flights," said Stephan Roth, a spokesman for United Airlines, the airport's dominant carrier.

"Our longest delays look like they've been just over an hour or so," he said.

Television news video showed about two dozen planes awaiting takeoff at the airport during the shutdown.

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