FAA failure: US flights resume after technical glitch

Air traffic operations are beginning to resume following the outage that grounded millions of flights in the US today, the FAA says.

Earlier, the FAA system that alerts pilots and other flight personnel about hazards or any changes to airport facility services and relevant procedures was not processing updated information.

It adds that the ground stop, which forced a halt to all US departing flights, has been lifted and it will continue to investigate what caused the glitch following a technical error following an issue with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) computer system and their Notice to Air Missions system.

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There was potential for widespread disruption because of the outage. All aircraft are required to route through the system, including commercial and military flights.

Most delays were concentrated along the US East Coast and airlines said that they are aware of the situation and beginning to suspend flights.

US flights grounded: How many flights have been delayed?

At 8am EST (1pm GMT), there were more than 2,500 delayed flights within, into or out of the United States, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware, exceeding the number of all delayed flights on the previous day.

More than 150 flights have been cancelled, and those numbers are likely to grow.

All flights across the US have been grounded due to a technical error following an issue with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) computer system and their Notice to Air Missions system.

More than 21,000 flights were scheduled to take off in the US on Wednesday, mostly domestic trips, and about 1,840 international flights expected to fly to the US, according to aviation data firm Cirium.

American Airlines and United have both confirmed to passengers waiting for flights that there is a nationwide system outage.

United Airlines said that it had temporarily delayed all domestic flights and would issue an update once it learned more from the FAA.

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When will the FAA system be back?

The FAA said its NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system had “failed” – impacting all flights.

There was no immediate estimate for when it would be back, the website showed, though NOTAMs issued before the outage were still viewable. No new NOTAMS or amendments have been processed since 20:28 UTC yesterday,

What is a NOTAM?

A Notice to Air Missions is essential to flights and may include items such as runway closures, general bird hazard warnings, or low-altitude construction obstacles, ensuring safety and up to date information for all on board.

The system used to be available through a hotline but that was phased out with the internet. The alerts span from mundane information about construction at airports to urgent flight restrictions or broken equipment.

White House deny FAA and flight delay cyber attack

The White House said that there is no evidence of a cyber attack, but US President Joe Biden directed the Department of Transportation to investigate the cause of the disruption.

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Mr Biden addressed the FAA issue on Wednesday before leaving the White House. He said he had just been briefed by US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, who told him they still had not identified what went wrong.

He said: “I just spoke to Buttigieg. They don’t know what the cause is. But I was on the phone with him about 10 minutes.

“I told him to report directly to me when they find out. Air traffic can still land safely, just not take off right now. We don’t know what the cause of it is.”

Mr Buttigieg said in a tweet that he is in touch with the FAA and monitoring the situation.