A glitch in the air control system at the Incheon Air Traffic Center which paralyzed air traffic control for nearly an hour on Sept. 14 was caused by errors in the devices manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin recently notified the Korean government of the fault.
The government sent flight data to Lockheed Martin the same day to find the cause. At the time, it suspected a data entry error, but Lockheed Martin found no traces of errors and asked the government for additional data and concluded that the glitch occurred due to design faults in the system.
"Lockheed Martin tentatively admitted the fault,” an official with the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said.
The government may ask for compensation from the American firm but will first take advice from experts. However, the three-year warranty has already expired.
The ATC moved from Daegu to Incheon in 2001, when Incheon International Airport opened. There were also lapses in November 2004 and in June 2006 due to problems with the radar power supply.
The ATC bought air control equipment and programs from Lockheed Martin for about W45 billion (US$1=W1,200) in 2001. The maintenance and service contract is renewed every year.
The system error will take two or three months to fix.