FAA lifts ground order on flights after two-and-a-half hours but fails to explain catastrophic 'computer failure' that delayed at least 6,000 flights and halted America's air traffic for the first time since 9/11


January 11, 2023

All flights across America were grounded today for the first time since 9/11 after an as-yet unexplained, FAA computer system failure. 


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Via DailyMail.com:

  • The FAA's NOTAM system - which pilots use to see flight plans - failed overnight
  • The White House says there is 'no evidence' of a cyber attack 
  • The issue was fixed by 9am but more than 6,000 flights were delayed as a result 
  • It is the latest air travel headache for the US after the Southwest Airlines debacle



The first complaints by passengers that their flights had been grounded started at around 4am EST, but it wasn't until 6.30am that the FAA announced it had grounded all flights as a result of an overnight crash of its NOTAM system - which pilots use to receive hazard warnings and safety updates.

By 9am, the issue had been resolved and flights were beginning to take off again. 

But the hours-long pause sent the day's travel into chaos that is expected to last hours - if not days. Already, more than 6,000 flights have been delayed and 1,000 flights have been canceled. 

The FAA is yet to explain how the catastrophic glitch came about or why there was no back-up system in place to ensure planes could continue to fly. All that the White House has said is that there is no evidence of a cyber attack 'at this point', but no further details have been given. 

As chaos spread throughout the country's airports, airline industry experts slammed the Biden administration and specifically Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for the debacle. 

Some said there is 'no excuse' for the failure that is the latest in a string of embarrassing transport headaches since he took office. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted that there was 'no evidence of a cyberattack at this point' but failed to say what had caused the collapse. 

Michael Boyd, Chairman of The Boyd Group, an aviation research company, told CNBC's Squawk Box: 'The FAA has fallen off the trolley in terms of keeping up their system. 

'There is no excuse for this. We need qualified aviation-related people in charge of the FAA, not people who know people in Washington.' 

Donald Trump Jr. said the outage made America look 'like a third world country' while Governor Ron DeSantis' deputy press secretary tweeted: 'Mayor Pete is having another great day as Secretary of Transportation! 

'Maybe we should spend less time on racist roads and more time on our critical infrastructure.' 

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association Vice President Cpt. Michael Santoro told Fox Business the impact would be 'huge'. 

'The last time we had all airplanes grounded was, I hate to say it, but back in 9/11. 

'No airplanes move, so that's what we're looking at today,' he said. 

Zach Griff, senior writer at travel experts The Points Guy, told DailyMail.com: 'Once the system became operational again, flights were theoretically allowed to resume but — and this is the kicker — airlines can’t simply just “restart” their operations.

'Many planes were already delayed and in the wrong place, while flight crews operating these planes were already thrown off schedule.

'Flight crews can only legally work a certain number of hours, and specific planes were already scheduled for flights that’ve since been delayed.

'Together, this domino effect will continue to lead to a slew of delays and cancellations throughout the U.S. today and likely into Thursday.



'American and Delta have preemptively implemented their own delay programs to help minimize the effects of this morning’s stoppage of flights, while Southwest continues to fare the worst with over 1,600 delayed flights and more than 300 canceled ones today 

In the meantime, thousands of people are stranded at airports across the country. Airport lounges quickly filled up as news of the outage spread, while some passengers were told by their airlines to simply 'go home'.

Disgruntled travelers have told DailyMail.com they are having to cancel long-standing plans because of the FAA systems failure chaos.

As the morning wore on at Tampa International, more and more passengers were being processed through TSA security – but with no flights to board.

It is the latest headache for US air travel after a woeful holiday period which saw the collapse of Southwest Airlines which left thousands of people stranded over Christmas and New Year. 

In the first mention of the problem this morning, the FAA said in an alert: 'The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System. 

'We are performing final validation checks and repopulating the system now. 

'Operations across the National Airspace System are affected.

'We will provide frequent updates as we make progress.' 

At 7am, the agency said: 'The FAA is still working to fully restore the Notice to Air Missions system following an outage.

'While some functions are beginning to come back on line, National Airspace System operations remain limited.'

Shortly before 7.30am, the FAA announced all flights were on hold until 9am. 

'The FAA is still working to fully restore the Notice to Air Missions system following an outage.

'The FAA has 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.' 



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