The Federal Aviation Administration Faces Computer Outage

The Federal Aviation Administration, USA, temporarily grounded US flights due to a computer outage. The flight services slowly resumed after hours of uncertainty, reported Reuters. 

A system outage in the FAA early on Wednesday led to delays at airports across the country due to “ground stops,” as announced by the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, according to the report.

A ground stop is a measure implemented by air traffic control that slows or halts aircraft at a particular airport.

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The FAA stated that it is working to restore a system that alerts pilots to hazards and changes to airport facilities and procedures, which had stopped processing updated information.  

“The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System. We are performing final validation checks and reloading the system now,” said the FAA statement on the situation. “Operations across the National Airspace System are affected,” it added. 

FAA, NOTAM, and flights

The FAA tweeted that they are still working to fully restore the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system following the outage and that while some functions have been restored, National Airspace System operations remain limited.  

As per the data aggregated from flight announcement websites, at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time, there were more than 1,200 delayed flights within, into, or out of the United States, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.  

Additionally, over 100 flights have been cancelled. Most delays were concentrated along the East Coast but were beginning to spread westward. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg mentioned in a tweet that he is in touch with the FAA and monitoring the situation.

United Airlines has temporarily delayed all domestic flights and will provide an update once more information from the FAA is received.  

European flights into the U.S. appeared to be largely unaffected. Irish carrier Aer Lingus reported that services to the U.S. are continuing, and flights to Newark, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles were running on schedule.  

In an earlier advisory on its website, the FAA said that its NOTAM system had “failed,” however, NOTAMs issued before the outage were still viewable. 

 A NOTAM is a notice that contains information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations that is not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means.  

Information in a NOTAM can go up to 200 pages for long-haul international flights and may include items such as runway closures, bird hazard warnings, and construction obstacles. 

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