Resumption of flights in the United States after a systems failure

(CNN) – After a widespread outage at US airports due to a failure, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said operations had resumed after restoring the system that provides pilots with pre-flight security warnings. Despite the announcement, thousands of flights remain delayed across the country.

“Normal US air traffic operations are gradually resuming after the overnight interruption in the Notice to Air Missions system, which provides safety information to flight crews,” the agency wrote on Twitter.

The agency issued an order to halt takeoffs across the country after discovering a flaw in the NOTAM, or Notice to Air Missions, system. Just before 9 a.m., the FAA lifted the order, saying air traffic operations were resuming. In the same notice, he said he was still trying to determine what caused the problem.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s NOTAMS, or Notice of Air Tasks, which failed on Wednesday, gives pilots information they should read before they fly.

However, as of Wednesday morning, airlines were still experiencing flight delays or cancellations due to congestion caused by the power outage. A source familiar with the situation said airlines may implement delay programs, which could lead to more scheduling problems.

The FAA website still shows air traffic stopped at New York’s LaGuardia Airport at 10:05 a.m. ET. The site also showed delays at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, one of the largest hubs for American Airlines.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said operations at O’Hare and Midway have resumed, but there are likely to be “remaining delays or cancellations.”

American Airlines, an association representing US airlines, said early Wednesday that the outage “caused significant operational delays.” Major US airlines, including United Airlines, Delta and American Airlines, have reported that they have canceled flights as a result of the situation. United Airlines issued a waiver for travel to North America.

FlightAware, which tracks delays and cancellations, showed that more than 5,400 flights to, from, and within the United States had been delayed as of 10:15 a.m. ET, and more than 900 flights had been canceled so far.

Earlier, the FAA said that “some features are starting to come back online,” but added that it will take some time to figure that out. An earlier notice stated: “Technicians are currently working to restore the system and there is no estimate of service recovery at this time.”

“We are performing final validations and refilling the system now,” the FAA statement said. “Operations have been affected throughout the national airspace system. We will provide frequent updates as we go.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted earlier: “I contacted the FAA this morning about an outage affecting a key system for providing safety information to pilots. The FAA is working to quickly and safely resolve this issue so air traffic can resume normal operations and will continue to provide updates.”

NOTAMS are used by commercial airline pilots to obtain real-time information about flying hazards and restrictions. The FAA states that NOTAMS should not be relied upon as the sole source of information, so some flights may meet safety requirements using other data.

Image copyright KENA BETANCUR / AFP via Getty Images Image caption United Airlines planes at Newark International Airport in New Jersey, during the general flight disruption on Wednesday

The reason for the widespread outage remains unclear

The affected system, Notification of Air Tasks (NOTAM), sends alerts to pilots informing them of conditions that may affect the safety of their flights. It differs from the air traffic control system that keeps planes at a safe distance from each other, but it is an essential tool for air safety.

US President Joe Biden said there was no immediate information on the cause of the blackout, the second aviation crisis in the US in a matter of weeks. He also said he has been briefed on the matter and is in contact with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“I just spoke with Buttigieg,” he told reporters as he left the White House. “They don’t know what the reason is. But I’ve been on the phone with him for the last 10 minutes. I told them to report back to me directly when they find out.”

He continued, “They don’t know what the cause is. They hope that within a couple of hours they will have an idea of ​​why this is and respond at that time.”

Asked if the attack was cyber, Biden said: “They don’t know. They’ll find out.”

A senior US official familiar with the matter told CNN that “there is no evidence of ‘foul play’ based on our discussions with the DOT/FAA.”

Earlier, White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said in a statement that “there is no evidence of a cyberattack at this time,” but added that Biden had ordered an investigation by the Department of Transportation.

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