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FAA: Chicago airports returning to normal

Following a national airline crisis caused by an arson fire at a west suburban Aurora flight-control center Sept. 26, Chicago’s two airports saw more flights take-off and landings Sunday through Tuesday than any other airport in the country, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Agency.

Brian Howard, an FAA contractor working at a flight-control center in Aurora, stands accused of setting a fire inside the building and attempted to take his own life, the Sun-Times previously reported. Howard’s alleged actions delayed thousands of flights for more than a week as crews attempted to fix the damage caused by the blaze.

FAA technical teams are still testing equipment that manages telecommunications, flight plan information and weather data, the statement said. Air traffic operations are currently being managed by the FAA, but should return to Chicago Center employes by Oct. 13, the statement said.

Howard, 36, is accused of setting the fire at the Aurora facility and then trying to kill himself in the basement of the building. Howard, of Naperville, is in custody and facing federal charges.