FAA Temporarily Grounds US Domestic Flights Following System Failure
FAA Temporarily Grounds US Domestic Flights Following System Failure

Major: FAA Temporarily Grounds US Domestic Flights Following System Failure

Flights across the United States were temporarily grounded on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, due to a technical glitch in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Notice To Air Missions (NOTAM) system. The FAA stated that no new NOTAMs or new amendments have been processed after the failure.

More than a thousand flights have been delayed within the U.S. following the computer system glitch. Early morning on Wednesday, the FAA said that it is still working to fully restore the Notice to Air Missions system following an outage. At around 7 a.m. Eastern Time, the agency further stated that the final validation checks and reloading of the system are being performed.

In the meantime, the Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) has activated a hotline to address any additional issues and concerns. A NOTAM is an announcement or notice that provides essential flight information to all personnel involved, including pilots, flight dispatchers, and flight planners. This flight operation information is not known far enough in advance to be published by other means.

“Technicians are currently working to restore the system and there is no estimate for restoration of service at this time.”

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
a close-up of a document
Source: Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC)

Domestic Flights Grounding

The FAA ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures until 9 a.m. Eastern Time to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information. According to data from Cirium, as many as 21,464 flights are scheduled to depart airports in the U.S. on Wednesday with a carrying capacity of nearly 2.9 million passengers.

American Airlines has the most departures from U.S. airports today with 4,819 flights scheduled, followed by Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. Moreover, United Airlines said that it had temporarily delayed all domestic flights and would issue an update when it learned more from the FAA.

The President has been briefed by the Secretary of Transportation on the FAA system outage. Although there is no evidence of any sort of cyberattack so far, the President directed DOT to conduct a full investigation into the occurrence.

At around 8:30 a.m., the FAA stated that it is making progress in restoring the system with departures already resuming at Newark and Atlanta Airport. Normal air traffic operations at other airports resumed gradually.

According to data from Flight Aware, around 4,000 flights to, from and within the United States have been delayed as a result of the system outage. More than 600 flights have been cancelled so far.

In its latest release, the FAA said that it is “working diligently to further pinpoint the causes of this issue and take all needed steps to prevent this kind of disruption from happening again.”