FAA identifies contractor involved in outage that cause nationwide ground stop

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has identified Spatial Front as the contractor it says was involved in the outage to the flight safety system that temporarily caused a nationwide ground stop earlier this month.

The FAA said in a statement that it has updated Congress on the contractors that work on the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system, which notifies pilots ahead of their flights of possible hazards they may face, like closed runways and birds.

The agency said Spatial Front is the contractor that provides first-level services for NOTAM, and that all Spatial Front personnel involved in the situation have lost their access to FAA buildings and systems while the agency investigates.

The Washington Post reported that Spatial Front said it is “fully cooperating” with the investigation.

The FAA announced last week that the outage to NOTAM was caused by contractors accidentally deleting files for the system. The personnel were working to synchronize NOTAM’s primary live database with its backup system when the files were deleted.

The FAA suspended all domestic departures for a few hours while the issue was addressed, resulting in thousands of flights being canceled or delayed. Pilots review the system ahead of taking off, so airplanes already in the air were not affected.

Federal officials have said they have no evidence that the outage resulted from a cyberattack.

The agency said in its statement that Concept Solutions is the contractor that it uses to modernize the NOTAM system.

Billy Nolen, the acting administrator of the FAA, gave a briefing to House members on Thursday, The Washington Post reported.

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