Federal worker cut air traffic communications with planes

A former Federal Aviation Administration employee has been fined $5,000 and put on two years of probation for cutting communication between air traffic controllers and planes flying above Honolulu in early 2019

HONOLULU -- A longtime federal employee has been fined $5,000 and given two years of probation for cutting communication between air traffic controllers and planes flying above Honolulu in early 2019.

According to court documents, DeCosta severed main and standby communication lines between air traffic controllers in Honolulu with about 10 planes in two separate incidents on Jan. 4, 2019. Prosecutors said pilots couldn't hear instructions from controllers for two minutes.

One of the pilots testified about the danger that was posed to his plane and its 40 passengers.

The outages affected airspace used for flights between Oahu and five other Hawaiian islands.