Preliminary reports reveal reason behind 10,000 US plane delays

FAA lifts grounding order on flights after computer outage

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said a corrupted database file was the reason behind the nationwide grounding of nearly 10,000 flights for the first time in two decades. Preliminary findings traced the cause to a “damaged database file”, ruling out earlier speculation of a cyberattack.

The same file reportedly corrupted both the main system and its backup. An engineer “replaced one file with another” without realising the mistake, a senior official briefed on the internal review told ABC News. “It was an honest mistake that cost the country millions.”

A key system used to notify pilots and ground staff of hazards and alerts suffered a “major failure” on Tuesday night. The fault lay with the NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system, which keeps pilots and other airport staff updated about aviation hazards and airport facilities. The FAA was able to lift the ground stop at around 9am on the East Coast, but the damage had been done to schedules for the day. Most airlines are waiving fees for passengers to rebook travel.

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Canada suffers same mysterious air system outage as US

Canada‘s air traffic system suffered a similar outage to the one that occurred in the US for a brief period on Wednesday.

US air travel was badly disrupted by the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration‘s Notice to Air Missions system (NOTAM) overnight on Tuesday, forcing a full ground stop of domestic aviation on Wednesday morning. Nav Canada, the Canadian national air navigation service provider, released a statement just after 12.30pm as US airlines struggled to resume normal service. Oliver O’Connell12 January 2023 07:30

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White House says ‘no evidence of a cyber attack’ in FAA outage

The White House said there is “no evidence of a cyber attack at this point” after a computer outage led the Federal Aviation Administration to halt aviation takeoffs across the US earlier in the day.

“The president has directed the Department of Transportation to conduct a full investigation into the causes and provide regular updates. Again, this is incredibly important to top priority the safety of Americans who are flying. We want to make sure that they’re safe,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC. Oliver O’Connell12 January 2023 05:30

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Corrupted file blamed for flight delays

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said a corrupted database file was the reason behind the nationwide grounding of nearly 10,000 flights for the first time in two decades. Preliminary findings traced the cause to a “damaged database file”, ruling out earlier speculation of a cyberattack.

The same file reportedly corrupted both the main system and its backup. An engineer “replaced one file with another” without realising the mistake, a senior official briefed on the internal review told ABC News. Alisha Rahaman Sarkar12 January 2023 05:18

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Pilot association encourages patience as airlines get back on schedule

The Air Line Pilots Association released the following statement after the resumption of air traffic operations this morning.

“We are in regular contact with [the FAA] and will continue to work with them and airline managements to ensure our aviation system continues to be as safe as possible,” it reads. “Airline pilots are #TrainedForLife to handle unique situations such as this.” Later the group added: “We understand the disruptions and frustrations this is causing and we encourage patience by all as we work to return the air transportation network to normal operations.” Oliver O’Connell12 January 2023 03:30

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What to do if your flight was cancelled or delayed

Thousands of travelers were stranded at US airports on Wednesday due to an hours-long computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration.

More than 1,000 US flights were cancelled early in the day and almost 7,000 flights were delayed, according to the tracking site FlightAware. That number continued to climb in the afternoon. Staying calm and knowing your rights can go a long way if your flight plans are disrupted, experts say.

Here’s some of their advice for dealing with a flight delay or cancellation: Oliver O’Connell12 January 2023 02:30

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What brought US domestic flights to a standstill?

Joe Sommerlad explains how US airports ground to a halt this morning. Oliver O’Connell12 January 2023 01:30

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Watch: FAA lifts grounding order on flights after computer outage

US authority lifts grounding order on flights after computer outage

Oliver O’Connell12 January 2023 00:30

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Recap: Flights grounded across US following major FAA system outage

Oliver O’Connell11 January 2023 23:30

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Delta expects minimal disruption tomorrow

Oliver O’Connell11 January 2023 22:50

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Airlines hope for return to normal operations on Thursday

The US aviation sector was struggling to return to normal following a nationwide ground stop imposed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) early on Wednesday over a computer issue that forced a 90-minute halt to all US departing flights. More than 10,300 flights have been delayed so far and over 1,300 canceled according to FlightAware in the first national grounding of flights in about two decades, industry officials said. Many officials compared the grounding to what occurred after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

The total number of flights was still rising but airline officials expressed confidence that normal operations could largely return by Thursday, absent new issues. The cause of the problem with a pilot-alerting messaging system was unclear, but U.S. officials said they had so far found no evidence of a cyberattack. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said an issue with safety messages sent to pilots prompted the outage.

Oliver O’Connell11 January 2023 22:30