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Software glitch temporarily grounds all Los Angeles-bound flights west of Denver

May 26, 2016

Days ahead of what is expected to be Southern California’s most heavily traveled Memorial Day weekend in a decade, a software issue with air traffic control grounded flights headed for Los Angeles on Thursday morning.

The issue kept all Los Angeles International Airport-bound flights from airports west of Denver from departing between 7:20 and 9 a.m., airport and FAA officials said. Flights that already were in the air landed safely, although with a slight delay, officials said.

Passengers from the affected airports could continue to expect delays as the backlog of flights is smoothed out throughout the day, the FAA said.

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The Auto Club of Southern California expects 2.89 million Southern Californians and 4.67 million people statewide to travel during the upcoming holiday weekend, a 2.5% increase over the number of travelers a year earlier.

This year’s numbers are the highest since 2005, when a record 3.2 million Southern Californians and 5.18 million people statewide left home for the weekend, according to the Auto Club.

The projected increase mirrors activity in other travel sectors, including airlines and theme parks, which have reported a surge in customers. Several factors have boosted travel spending, including a positive consumer outlook, lower airfares and a drop in gasoline prices.

Nationwide, travelers getting away for the holiday are expected to spend $12 billion, a 1.2% increase over 2015, according to a forecast by the U.S. Travel Assn., the trade group for the nation’s travel industry.

The Auto Club also warned travelers that they may face extra long airport security lines for the holiday, the result of an increase in air travelers and a shortage of airport screeners.

Times staff writer Hugo Martin contributed to this report.

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