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WEEKEND'S AIR TRAFFIC SNARLS PERSIST FIRES STILL HAMPERING AIRPORTS.

Byline: Phillip W. Browne Staff Writer

Frustrated travelers packed Los Angeles-area airports Monday as they struggled with delayed and canceled flights, trying to revive plans that were derailed by the region's smoky wildfires.

At Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport, lines for the ticketing counters snaked out the front doors as weary travelers huddled around the information kiosks, hoping for some good news about their flights.

``We're trying to get back to Denver, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen,''' said Cindy Kenyon, 43.

``We were at LAX this morning, and they canceled the 6- and 7-in-the- morning flights, so we came up here to see if we could get on another one. It doesn't look good.''

Madeline Rogers, 72, of Northridge arrived at Burbank to pick up her daughter, who was flying in from Phoenix.

``They changed her departure date two times because of the fires,'' Rogers said. ``I've been here once already trying to pick her up. It's crazy. These fires are really doing a number.''

Shifting Santa Ana winds and visibility problems caused by smoke caused some delays early Saturday as the firestorms raged across Southern California from Simi Valley to San Diego.

But the real problems began late Saturday, when the Federal Aviation Administration evacuated its Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control facility at the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar because of smoke. That facility handles much of the air traffic control from Southern California.

Since then, air traffic controllers have been doubled up at the FAA's Palmdale facility. The FAA was reporting delays on arriving flights averaging between two and five hours.

``We're seeing delays of up to two hours; our only saving grace is that October is a slow travel month,'' said Victor Gill, spokesman for Burbank Airport. ``All of the airlines have a significant backlog of flights and are trying to recover. It's not easy, but everyone will eventually get where they need to be.''

More than 200 flights at LAX were canceled Sunday as airlines tried to combine flights and lessen the load on the air traffic control system, said Nancy Castles, LAX spokeswoman.

By 2 p.m. Monday, 220 flights had been canceled at LAX, with that number expected to grow.

``It's all dependent on when the air traffic control situation returns to normal,'' Castles said. ``Until then, there will be at least 30-minute delays.''

Phillip W. Browne, (818) 713-3707

phillip.browne(at)dailynews.com

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 28, 2003
Words:417
Previous Article:POTENT AIR CHOKES SOUTHLAND HEALTH OFFICIALS WARN OF EFFECTS FROM SMOKE.
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