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Montevideo, February 6th 2023 - 13:33 UTC



Computer glitch causes chaos in air traffic across United States

Wednesday, January 11th 2023 - 21:17 UTC
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Air traffic was resuming gradually across the country, the FAA reported Air traffic was resuming gradually across the country, the FAA reported

Most commercial air traffic was diverted, grounded, or rescheduled Wednesday morning after a computer malfunction caused unforeseeable widespread delays. President Joseph Biden said the source was still unknown. However, authorities ruled out the possibility of a cyberattack. There were “no signs” of that, Presidential Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suspended temporarily all domestic flights while the causes of the glitch were still under investigation.

At 9 am Eastern Time (14H00 GMT), the FAA lifted the ban preventing planes from taking off, except from Newark and Atlanta to avoid heavy traffic congestion. Activity at those terminals resumed later in the day, while operations were gradually getting back to normal across the country, according to the FAA.

President Biden spoke with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who had said on Twitter that he had launched an investigation into the causes of the problem. “I was in contact with the FAA this morning about an outage that affected a key system for providing safety information to pilots. The FAA is working to resolve this issue quickly and safely so that air traffic can resume normal operations and will continue to provide updates,” Buttigieg had reported earlier.

Senator Maria Cantwell, who chairs the Upper House's Transportation Committee, also said there would be a parliamentary inquiry. “The public needs a resilient air transportation system,” she said in a statement.

According to the website FlightAware, about 6,000 flights were delayed. The measure had repercussions in Canada and Mexico, as well as in other air terminals worldwide regarding flights bound for the United States.

This episode is reminiscent of the chaos unleashed at Christmas by a wave of extreme cold accompanied by snowfall, which lasted for several days with cascading cancellations by Southwest.

The Notice To Air Missions (NOTAM) system, affected by the failure, is used to transmit information to crews about risks, the situation at airports, and other relevant data.

A total of 21,464 flights were expected to take off from the United States Wednesday, the vast majority of them domestic. About 2 million passengers are potentially affected by the incident.

When the emergency was declared, flights already airborne were advised to land at the nearest airports, it was reported.


Categories: United States.
Tags: Air Traffic.

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