WASHINGTON: Air traffic in the United States was paralysed for more than three hours on Wednesday morning after a catastrophic systems failure grounded nearly 5000 flights.
Flights resumed after 9 am EST (7:30 pm IST) when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAAA) announced that the overnight outage of the Notice to Air Missions system (Notam), which provides safety information to flight crews, had been fixed. But the hold-up had a cascading effect across the US and the globe with delayed arrivals and missed connections.
The FAA did not explain the precise nature of the glitch and the White House said is there is no evidence of a cyber attack ‘at this point’, but the snafu shook global aviation, which centers on the US, which account for nearly a quarter of the 100,000 flights per day across the world.
Flights grounded across US after FAA system Failure
Show CaptionsA computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration brought flights to a standstill across the US, with hundreds of delays quickly cascading through the system at airports nationwide.<br />The FAA ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures until at least 1430 GMT (7.30pm IST). <br /><br />The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) scrambled to fix outage in a key pilot notification system called NOTAM, with passengers being told to check with airlines for updates.<br /><br />Most delays were concentrated along the East Coast, but were beginning to spread west. Airlines began to delay flights in response to the outage. FAA said that some functions are beginning to come back on line, but that “National Airspace System operations remain limited.”<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />There is no evidence of a cyber attack in the FAA system outage that grounded flights across the country and President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation.<br />The halt comes in the wake of a large-scale aviation meltdown in the United States over the Christmas holiday, as a storm brought unseasonably cold temperatures to the majority of the country and caused chaos, with thousands of flights delayed or canceled.<br /><br />The Federal Aviation Administration lifted a ground stop on flights across the US following a computer outage early that resulted in thousands of delays quickly cascading through the system at airports nationwide.<br /><br /> Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the US on Wednesday following a technical failure in the system that provides safety info to flight crews.<br />Biden told reporters at the White House he had spoken to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and they should have a good sense in a couple of hours of what triggered the outage.<br /><br /><br /><br />Air Canada, the foreign carrier with the most flights into the United States, said its transborder operations would be affected by a US system outage on Wednesday, but it was too early to determine the full impact.<br /><br />Passengers across the country said their plans had been scuttled, with airport employees sometimes knowing little more than passengers.<br /><br /><br /><br />
According to the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), it provides service to more than 45,000 flights and 2.9 million airline passengers across more than 29 million square miles of airspace every day.
The flight tracking website FlightAware recorded over 6000 delayed flights within, into or out of the United States till 9 a.m., The last time America grounded all flights was after 9/11 when commercial air traffic was halted for several days.
There was the familiar political squabbling with Trumpistas bemoaning that the US had become a “third world country” and homophobic comments directed against Transportation secretary Pete Buttegieg, who is gay. The Pentagon said its operations was not affected.
The FAA is without a head currently, with President Biden’s nominee to lead the agency, Phillip Washington, languishing because lawmakers have not scheduled a confirmation hearing.