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FAA: Fire damage clean up nearly complete

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it is close to completing a clean out of equipment damaged last month in a fire at a suburban Chicago air traffic control center. 

Nearly 4,000 domestic flights were canceled last weekend following a fire at an air traffic control tower in Aurora, Ill., set on Sept. 26 as part of a suicide attempt by an FAA employee. 

The agency said in its latest update that air service was returning close to normal levels at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway international airports. 

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An FAA official said the removal of flight monitoring equipment that was damaged in the fire would be complete by Tuesday morning, though the FAA cautioned that new machines will still have to be installed before the Aurora flight tower is fully operational again. 

Still the agency said the flight situation in Chicago was drastically improved from last weekend. 

“FAA air traffic controllers continued to handle high volumes of traffic into and out of Chicago-area airports this weekend,” the FAA said. “The number of arrivals and departures at O'Hare were more than 90 percent of the two-month average for a Saturday, while total operations at Midway reached more than 95 percent. By noon [Sunday], the number of flights at the two airports was running almost 95 percent of the two-month average for a Sunday.”