DOT, FAA say systems are Y2K ready

Systems that operate lighting, emergency response and radio communications at the nation's 565 airports are expected to work properly through the Year 2000 date rollover, according to Transportation Department and Federal Aviation Administration officials.

FAA inspectors visited 565 airports that are served by aircraft with more than 30 seats to review the airports' safety systems, which include fire dispatch, airfield lighting, airfield condition, radio communications and fire-fighting systems, said David Smallen, a Transportation spokesman. The site visits started in mid-1998, he said.

"We expect the airports, like the FAA, will continue to test and make sure systems are ready through the end of the year," Smallen said.

FAA plans to issue a Federal Register notice on Nov. 3 that will require airport operators to run readiness checks on those systems Jan. 1, Smallen said.

When the Jan. 1 checks were proposed by the FAA in July, the Airports Council International-North America opposed the tests because it said the tests might cause some airports to shut down early.

The tests will not disrupt airport service, said Paul Takemoto, a FAA spokesman.

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