The FAA has confirmed that US flights can now resume after an error with their NOTAM System caused significant delays on Wednesday morning.
Domestic flights in the US ground to a halt this morning when the system stopped working, and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requested airlines pause operations until 9 am EST.
In a statement released on their website and Twitter, they confirmed the systems are working, and flights can now resume as normal. However, the effects of these delays will likely be felt throughout the day. The US Air Traffic Controller has yet to reveal what initially caused the system to fail.
Update 5: Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the U.S. following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted.
We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 11, 2023
US Flights Delayed and Cancelled
The effects of these delays are reflected in delayed and cancelled flights across the US. Airlines have been forced to cancel and delay flights, with flightaware.com reporting 4948 delayed flights and 867 cancellations as of 12:54 pm E.S.T.
Aviation expert Daniel Bubb Ph.D., from the University of Nevada, LV, spoke to Travel Radar to explain the impact it could have over the next few days:
“Because our air travel system is so deeply interconnected, it likely will take most if not the entire day for flights to catch up to being “on time.” Even if there were one delay at a major airport, it will have a ripple effect throughout the entire system and create delays at other airports. The US ATC NOTAM computer software system went out… Out of an abundance of caution, the FAA grounded all flights. Currently, it is investigating what happened, but more importantly, needs to take steps in the future to make sure this does not happen again. Further, it needs to be transparent in its explanation to the airlines, corporate and private jet pilots, and anyone else impacted by this outage.”
The US Press Secretary released a statement via Twitter saying the President has been briefed and that there is no evidence of a cyber attack on the FAA’s systems but that a full investigation will be conducted.
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
Passengers due to fly out of the states today have been taking to Twitter to air their frustrations.
I've been grounded in the northeast for the past 5.5 hours
It took a few hours before they even made an announcement.
— Brandon (@TacticoolBrando) January 11, 2023
Who Are The FAA?
The FAA control the US airspace with a self-proclaimed mission to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. The administration provides airlines and private pilots across the US with guidance and standards to adhere to for safe and efficient flights. They are accountable to the US Citizens they serve and their shareholders.
What Is A NOTAM?
NOTAMs indicate the real-time and abnormal status of the National Airspace System impacting every user.
The FAA describe a Notice To Air Mission (NOTAM) as a “notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means. It states the abnormal status of a component of the National Airspace System (NAS) – not the normal status.”
Speaking on the system used to manage these notifications, Daniel Bubb Ph.D. went on to add:
“The FAA has been trying to update its antiquated computer software air traffic control system. It has been working on installing a new system that is called NEXT GEN, shorthand for “Next Generation,” where pilots will be able to navigate via a satellite system that will save them time and reduce fuel consumption compared to the dated ground navigation system they use now. Today’s outage underscores the importance of implementing this new system as soon as possible.”
Have you been affected by these delays? Has this error delayed your flight? Please let us know in the comments!