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FAA Outage Could Cause Massive Flight Disruptions In U.S.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently experiencing an outage that could cause massive flight disruptions nationwide.
In the latest update from the FAA, the agency says departures are expected to resume at 9 a.m. ET at certain airports.
Update 4: The FAA is making progress in restoring its Notice to Air Missions system following an overnight outage. Departures are resuming at @EWRairport and @ATLairport due to air traffic congestion in those areas. We expect departures to resume at other airports at 9 a.m. ET.— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 11, 2023
The latest data from Flight Aware shows more than 3,500 flight delays between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. as of Wednesday morning. This number reflects flights within, into, and out of the United States, but this number is expected to increase if the FAA doesn’t get to the bottom of the computer outage.
The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System. We are performing final validation checks and reloading the system now.— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 11, 2023
Operations across the National Airspace System are affected.
We will provide frequent updates as we make progress.
It’s important to note that this is not an airline issue but the federal agency’s problem.
So, What Is The FAA Outage About?
A computer failure at the FAA is impacting flights departing nationwide. Pilots and air traffic controllers use the affected system to obtain flight hazard information and real-time restrictions. Airline pilots refer to the system as Notice To Air Missions (NOTAM).
“THE FAA is experiencing an outage impacting the update of NOTAMS. All flights cannot be released at this time,” the FAA said in a statement announcing the problem.
The press secretary for the White House confirms there is no evidence of a cyberattack.
The President has been briefed by the Secretary of Transportation this morning on the FAA system outage. There is no evidence of a cyberattack at this point, but the President directed DOT to conduct a full investigation into the causes. The FAA will provide regular updates.— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) January 11, 2023
How Does The FAA Outage Impact Travelers?
It’s unclear how the computer outage will impact travelers, but significant U.S. airlines say they are watching closely as this unfolds.
“We’re closely monitoring the situation and working with the FAA to minimize customer disruptions,” American Airlines tweeted.
United Airlines has “temporarily delayed all domestic flights” and will wait for an update from the FAA.
“We’re closely monitoring a data issue with the FAA that may impact the start of operations today, Jan 11, 2023. Please check your flight status in the Southwest app,” Southwest tweeted.
Airline Industry Can’t Catch A Break With Outages
The FAA’s outage comes at a rough time for the aviation industry, recovering from the Southwest meltdown at the end of 2022 into the new year.
In what’s now known as a “historic failure,” Southwest canceled more than 16,000 flights from Dec. 211 through Dec 31. The airline blamed the winter storm that plagued the country in mid-December. But while other airlines caught up, Southwest’s problems worsened from staff shortages and an outdated computer system that made it difficult to find staff for departing flights.
Southwest has a long road ahead to make it right with customers. The U.S. Department of Transportation says it’s acting on thousands of complaints by impacted customers.
“Since the Southwest meltdown, DOT had received thousands of consumer complaints about Southwest — including complaints about lack of ticket refunds and reimbursements for services when a traveler was stranded,” the Department of Transportation tells CNN.
This story is developing.