A critical Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) system suffered an overnight failure that grounded flights in the US. The FAA posted an advisory early Wednesday noting that the United States’ NOTAM (Notice to Air Mission) system “failed,” but said just before 9 a.m. ET, “Normal air traffic operations are gradually resuming.”
NOTAM is a critical system that keeps pilots and other aircrew informed about the status of airports across the country, Reuters reports. It can provide information about runway closures, bird hazards, and other obstacles.
At 07:19 ET, the desk said it had “ordered airlines to pause all domestic flights” until 9 a.m. ET to give it time to “validate the integrity of flight and safety information.” At least one airline, United, issued a notice before the FAA directive said it grounded all flights.
At 8:15 a.m. ET, the FAA said it was resuming departures from a few airports after “progress was made in restoring the air mission notification system after a nighttime outage.”
A tweet at 08:50 ET confirmed the restoration and said the ground hold has been lifted.
“The FAA is working to restore its air mission notification system,” the FAA says said in an earlier statement. “We are performing final validation checks and are now re-populating the system. Operations throughout the national airspace system are affected.” Another pronunciation said by the White House press secretary, “There is no evidence of a cyberattack at this time,” but the FAA is still investigating the cause of the problem.
At one point flight tracker FlightAware reported more than a thousand delayed flights in the US and more than 100 canceled.
Update January 11, 07:28 ET: Added FAA statement stating all flights grounded until 9 a.m. ET.
Update January 11, 08:15 ET: Added FAA statement saying ground flights are expected to resume from all airports at 9 a.m. ET.
Update January 11, 09:05 ET: The well-known ground stop has been lifted and departure slowly resumes.