Flights grounded – latest: Corrupted file blamed for 10,000 US plane delays

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said a corrupted database file was the reason behind the nationwide grounding of nearly 10,000 flights for the first time in two decades.

Preliminary findings traced the cause to a “damaged database file”, ruling out earlier speculation of a cyberattack. The same file reportedly corrupted both the main system and its backup.

An engineer “replaced one file with another” without realising the mistake, a senior official briefed on the internal review told ABC News.

“It was an honest mistake that cost the country millions.”

A key system used to notify pilots and ground staff of hazards and alerts suffered a “major failure” on Tuesday night. The fault lay with the NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system, which keeps pilots and other airport staff updated about aviation hazards and airport facilities.

The FAA was able to lift the ground stop at around 9am on the East Coast, but the damage had been done to schedules for the day.

Most airlines are waiving fees for passengers to rebook travel.

Key points

  • Corrupted file blamed for nationwide flight delays

  • FAA systems outage leave passengers stuck and fuming

  • White House says no evidence of cyberattack

  • Same system briefly malfunctions in Canada

Corrupted file blamed for flight delays

05:18 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said a corrupted database file was the reason behind the nationwide grounding of nearly 10,000 flights for the first time in two decades.

Preliminary findings traced the cause to a “damaged database file”, ruling out earlier speculation of a cyberattack. The same file reportedly corrupted both the main system and its backup.

An engineer “replaced one file with another” without realising the mistake, a senior official briefed on the internal review told ABC News.

Corrupted file blamed for taking down US flight system and causing delays

Pilot association encourages patience as airlines get back on schedule

03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The Air Line Pilots Association released the following statement after the resumption of air traffic operations this morning.

“We are in regular contact with [the FAA] and will continue to work with them and airline managements to ensure our aviation system continues to be as safe as possible,” it reads. “Airline pilots are #TrainedForLife to handle unique situations such as this.”

Later the group added: “We understand the disruptions and frustrations this is causing and we encourage patience by all as we work to return the air transportation network to normal operations.”

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What to do if your flight was cancelled or delayed

02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Thousands of travelers were stranded at US airports on Wednesday due to an hours-long computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration.

More than 1,000 US flights were cancelled early in the day and almost 7,000 flights were delayed, according to the tracking site FlightAware. That number continued to climb in the afternoon.

Staying calm and knowing your rights can go a long way if your flight plans are disrupted, experts say.

Here’s some of their advice for dealing with a flight delay or cancellation:

Flight delayed or cancelled due to the FAA system outage? Experts share advice

What brought US domestic flights to a standstill?

01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Sommerlad explains how US airports ground to a halt this morning.

What brought US domestic flights to a standstill?

Watch: FAA lifts grounding order on flights after computer outage

00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Recap: Flights grounded across US following major FAA system outage

Wednesday 11 January 2023 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Flights grounded across US following major FAA outage

Delta expects minimal disruption tomorrow

Wednesday 11 January 2023 22:50 , Oliver O'Connell

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Airlines hope for return to normal operations on Thursday

Wednesday 11 January 2023 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The US aviation sector was struggling to return to normal following a nationwide ground stop imposed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) early on Wednesday over a computer issue that forced a 90-minute halt to all US departing flights.

More than 10,300 flights have been delayed so far and over 1,300 canceled according to FlightAware in the first national grounding of flights in about two decades, industry officials said. Many officials compared the grounding to what occurred after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

The total number of flights was still rising but airline officials expressed confidence that normal operations could largely return by Thursday, absent new issues.

The cause of the problem with a pilot-alerting messaging system was unclear, but U.S. officials said they had so far found no evidence of a cyberattack. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said an issue with safety messages sent to pilots prompted the outage.

Reuters

‘No evidence of a cyber attack’ says White House after outage grounded flights across US

Wednesday 11 January 2023 21:59 , Oliver O'Connell

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden had a “full briefing” on the matter. She further explained that the FAA has “no evidence of a cyberattack at this point,” and said Mr Biden has “directed DOT to conduct a full investigation into the causes”.

Andrew Feinberg has the latest from Washington, DC.

White House says ‘no evidence of a cyber attack’ after outage grounded flights

Watch: Passengers walk back to gate after boarding due to FAA computer outage

Wednesday 11 January 2023 21:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Pilot association encourages patience as airlines get back on schedule

Wednesday 11 January 2023 21:22 , Oliver O'Connell

The Air Line Pilots Association released the following statement after the resumption of air traffic operations this morning.

“We are in regular contact with [the FAA] and will continue to work with them and airline managements to ensure our aviation system continues to be as safe as possible,” it reads. “Airline pilots are #TrainedForLife to handle unique situations such as this.”

Later the group added: “We understand the disruptions and frustrations this is causing and we encourage patience by all as we work to return the air transportation network to normal operations.”

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More than 10,000 flights impacted by outage

Wednesday 11 January 2023 21:14 , Oliver O'Connell

By 4pm ET the total number of flights impacted by the FAA outage topped 10,000.

The total number of flights delayed within, into, or out of the US stood at 8,783, while the total number of cancellations was 1,276, according to FlightAware.

Nevertheless, the FlightAware MiseryMap showed some improvement. Most airports that had earlier recorded delays or cancellations to more than three-quarters of their flights had improved to around half of their flights being impacted. There are still notable problems in Charlotte, the DC area, and in Denver.

Flight delayed or cancelled due to the FAA system outage? Experts share some advice

Wednesday 11 January 2023 21:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Thousands of travelers were stranded at US airports on Wednesday due to an hours-long computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration.

More than 1,000 US flights were cancelled early in the day and almost 7,000 flights were delayed, according to the tracking site FlightAware. That number continued to climb in the afternoon.

Staying calm and knowing your rights can go a long way if your flight plans are disrupted, experts say.

Here’s some of their advice for dealing with a flight delay or cancellation:

Flight delayed or cancelled due to the FAA system outage? Experts share some advice

White House stands behind Buttigieg

Wednesday 11 January 2023 20:56 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden remains confident in US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg following recent air travel disruptions, including a 90-minute nationwide order to ground all US departing flights and thousands of complaints in the fallout of Southwest Airlines’ holiday travel chaos.

The president “respects the secretary and the work that he has been doing” to hold airlines accountable, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on 11 January.

Alex Woodward reports.

White House stands behind Buttigieg after fallout from airline disruptions

Canada suffers same mysterious air system outage as US

Wednesday 11 January 2023 20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Canada’s air traffic system suffered a similar outage to the one that occurred in the US for a brief period on Wednesday.

US air travel was badly disrupted by the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Notice to Air Missions system (NOTAM) overnight on Tuesday, forcing a full ground stop of domestic aviation on Wednesday morning.

Nav Canada, the Canadian national air navigation service provider, released a statement just after 12.30pm as US airlines struggled to resume normal service.

Read more:

Canada suffers same mysterious air system outage as US, delaying more flights

Buttigieg says ground stop was ‘right call'

Wednesday 11 January 2023 20:20 , Oliver O'Connell

The cause of the problem with a pilot-alerting NOTAM system is unclear, but US officials said they had so far found no evidence of a cyberattack.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN an issue with overnight “irregularities” with safety messages sent to pilots prompted the outage.

He said the ground stop was the "right call" to make sure messages were moving correctly and there is no direct evidence of cyberattack.

The outage occurred at a typically slow time after the holiday travel season, but demand remains strong as travel continues to recover to near pre-pandemic levels.

Reuters

House committee chair wants to know how this can prevented in future

Wednesday 11 January 2023 20:04 , Oliver O'Connell

Representative Sam Graves, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he had many questions concerning the outage and the subsequent problems caused.

“I expect the FAA to provide a full briefing to members of Congress as soon as they learn more,” he said.

Mr Graves added that he also expected the Transportation Department to “do right by passengers it has wronged”.

The committee, he said wanted to “make sure that we know what went wrong, who’s responsible, and how this is going to be prevented in the future”.

Senate Commerce committee to investigate FAA computer outage

Wednesday 11 January 2023 19:57 , Oliver O'Connell

A US Senate panel will review the cause of a Federal Aviation Administration computer system outage that sparked a nationwide ground stop and delayed or canceled more than 7,000 US flights, Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell said on Wednesday.

The outage occurred overnight on Tuesday and US flights were slowly beginning to resume departures on Wednesday.

"We will be looking into what caused this outage and how redundancy plays a role in preventing future outages. The public needs a resilient air transportation system," Ms Cantwell said. The ground stop was lifted by the FAA shortly before 9am ET.

Many lawmakers from both parties urged action to prevent a future disruption.

Reuters

Boebert calls Buttigieg ‘clueless' and not qualified. Twitter reacts.

Wednesday 11 January 2023 19:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Rep Lauren Boebert has hit out at Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to order a groundstop at US airports this morning.

The Republican lawmaker from Colorado tweeted: “Every plane in America is currently grounded due to a system error.”

“Mayor Pete, bravo,” she added. “This is what happens when you hire clueless liberals for jobs they aren’t qualified to do.”

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Other Twitter users were not impressed with Ms Boebert jab at Mr Buttigieg with many pointing out her own limited qualifications, accusing her of making a cheap attack, and calling her an attention seeker and a fraud.

TV host and producer Andy Cohen shot back: “Hiring a clueless wingnut is certainly paying off for your constituents, you psychopath.”

Tired of airport disruption? Why not try the train?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 19:19 , Oliver O'Connell

‘Nightmare’ as passengers believed they were hostages after 29-hour Amtrak delay

Which airlines and airports are worst affected by the delays?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 19:10 , Oliver O'Connell

As of 2.00pm per FlightAware:

Major airlines, from most impacted to least: Southwest (48 per cent of flights delayed), American Airlines (44 per cent), Spirit (40 per cent), Delta (37 per cent), United (36 per cent), and JetBlue (31 per cent). West coast-focussed airlines such as Alaskan and Hawaiian show a modest number of delays as the outage occurred at a time when they have a lower number of scheduled flights.

The worst affected airports for delays are Baltimore (49 per cent of flights delayed); LaGuardia (44 per cent); Atlanta, Chicago Midway and Orlando (39 per cent); Denver and Nashville 37 per cent; and Reagan National, Austin, and Tampa (36 per cent).

Almost every major airport now has more than 25 per cent of its flights delayed.

If you are travelling today, check the status of your flight with your airline, as airports will be busier than usual.

Problems in Canada?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 19:01 , Oliver O'Connell

NAV Canada, the country’s air navigation service provider, has tweeted out a message stating that its own NOTAM system is experiencing an outage affecting newly issued notices.

So far no delays are reported relating to the outage.

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What brought US domestic flights to a standstill today?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 18:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Sommerlad explains how today’s air travel turmoil came about.

What brought US domestic flights to a standstill?

Schumer: ‘no clear evidence of outside interference'

Wednesday 11 January 2023 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he has spoken to Secretary Buttigieg about the restoration of air travel.

He adds: “While at this moment there’s no clear evidence of outside interference, the FAA needs to get to root causes so this doesn’t happen again.”

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American offers passenger option to rebook with no fees

Wednesday 11 January 2023 18:20 , Oliver O'Connell

In a statement regarding the resumption of operations, American Airlines says that more than 950 mainline and regional flights have departed, but some 450 have been cancelled and another 850 have been delayed.

American has resumed operations now that the Federal Aviation Administration's nationwide ground stop has ended. We continue to closely monitor the situation, which impacts all airlines, and are working to minimize further disruption to our customers and operation. To support our customers whose travel was affected by the FAA system issue, we're providing additional flexibility to rebook their travel plans today and tomorrow without any additional fees.

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Buttigieg rejects suggestion FAA should reimburse passengers.

Wednesday 11 January 2023 18:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has rejected the suggestion that the Federal Aviation Administration should reimburse affected travellers who have had flights cancelled or delayed by the decision to order a ground stop.

He told MSNBC: “We’re not a for-profit company selling tickets ... We’re always going to err on the side of safety.”

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Watch: Biden says cause of outage unknown

Wednesday 11 January 2023 17:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Delta issues fare difference waiver to delayed customers

Wednesday 11 January 2023 17:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Delta Air Lines says it remains connected with the FAA as it works to mitigate the impact of the ground stop the agency implemented earlier today.

“A fare difference waiver will give customers additional flexibility even if their flight isn’t delayed or cancelled,” the airline says.

One of the immediate concerns for airlines will be congestion within airports making getting things back on track more difficult. The move by Delta allows passengers to switch flights and avoid airports completely today even if their flight is not affected.

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Wednesday 11 January 2023 17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Ranking Democrat Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Rick Larsen of Washington state issued the following statement regarding the FAA-ordered ground stop today:

"This morning, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an order pausing all domestic flight traffic due to a disruption to their Notice to Air Missions system," Ranking Member Larsen said. "I spoke with Secretary Buttigieg about this development and will continue to monitor this disruption to our air travel system until it is resolved."

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Latest headache for US travellers just weeks after winter storms and Southwest Airlines meltdown

Wednesday 11 January 2023 17:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Today’s delays are just the latest in a series of headaches for airline passengers in the US who faced flight cancellations over the holidays amid winter storms and a breakdown with staffing technology at Southwest Airlines.

The preceding summer wasn’t much better, with long lines, lost baggage, and cancellations and delays as travel demand roared back from the Covid-19 pandemic and ran into staffing cutbacks at airports and airlines in both the US and Europe.

The Independent’s Simon Calder wrote about the troubles faced by Southwest over the holiday period — just a few weeks ago. Today the airline again has delays impacting almost half of its scheduled flights.

Can Southwest Airlines recover from a holiday meltdown of its own making?

Which airlines and airports are worst affected by the delays?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

As of 11.30am per FlightAware:

Major airlines, from most impacted to least: Southwest (46 per cent of flights delayed), American Airlines (34 per cent), Delta (33 per cent), Spirit (32 per cent), United (29 per cent), and JetBlue (both 25 per cent). West coast-focussed airlines such as Alaskan and Hawaiian show a modest number of delays as the outage occurred at a time when they have a lower number of scheduled flights.

The worst affected airports for delays are Baltimore (45 per cent of flights delayed); LaGuardia (39 per cent); Chicago Midway (39 per cent); Houston’s William P Hobby, Tampa and Orlando (35 per cent); and Atlanta and Detroit (34 per cent).

Airports with between one-third and a quarter of flights delayed: Nashville, St Louis, Austin, Kansas City, Dallas Love Field, Reagan National, New Orleans, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas Fort-Worth, Houston Bush, Charlotte, Sacramento, Chicago O’Hare, Miami, Las Vegas, New York JFK, and Minneapolis.

If you are travelling today, check the status of your flight with your airline as airports will be busier than usual.

What is NOTAM and what happened?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 16:45 , Oliver O'Connell

The outage has revealed how dependent the US is on air travel, and how dependent air travel is on an antiquated computer system called the Notice to Air Missions, or NOTAM.

Before commencing a flight, pilots are required to consult NOTAMs, which list potential adverse impacts on flights, from runway construction to the potential for icing. The system used to be telephone-based, with pilots calling dedicated flight service stations for the information, but has moved online.

According to FAA advisories, the NOTAM system failed at 8.28pm ET on Tuesday preventing new or amended notices from being distributed to pilots. The FAA resorted to a telephone hotline to keep departures flying overnight, but as daytime traffic picked up it overwhelmed the telephone backup system.

The FAA ordered all departing flights grounded early Wednesday morning, affecting all passenger and shipping flights.

Some medical flights could get clearance and the outage did not impact any military operations or mobility.

Flights for the US military’s Air Mobility Command were not affected.

AP

Ted Cruz: Need for proven leader with substantive aviation experience at FAA

Wednesday 11 January 2023 16:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the top Republican on the Senate committee that oversees transportation has issued a statement demanding an explanation from the administration regarding today’s air traffic failure.

“The FAA’s inability to keep an important safety system up and running in completely unacceptable and just the latest example of dysfunction within the Department of Transportation,” said Mr Cruz.

“The administration needs to explain to Congress what happened, and Congress should enact reforms in this year’s FAA reauthorisation legislation,” he continued.

Taking aim at Phillip Washington, the Biden administration’s nominee to lead the FAA who has been criticised for not having sufficient aviation experience, the senator said: “This incident also highlights why the public needs a competent, proven leader with substantive aviation experience leading the FAA.”

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US Travel Association calls for federal action on FAA failure

Wednesday 11 January 2023 16:10 , Oliver O'Connell

US Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman issued the following statement on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) system failure after this morning’s mass delays and cancellations of flights.

Today’s FAA catastrophic system failure is a clear sign that America’s transportation network desperately needs significant upgrades. Americans deserve an end-to-end travel experience that is seamless and secure. And our nation’s economy depends on a best-in-class air travel system. We call on federal policymakers to modernize our vital air travel infrastructure to ensure our systems are able to meet demand safely and efficiently.

Wednesday 11 January 2023 16:04 , Oliver O'Connell

11am Update

Total flight delays today in the US: 6,477

Total flight cancellations today in the US: 1,021

No evidence of cyberattack, report says

Wednesday 11 January 2023 16:02 , Oliver O'Connell

A senior law enforcement official has told NBC News that the FBI has seen no evidence that a cyberattack caused this morning’s outage that grounded thousands of flights.

The network cites cyber security experts as saying the most common cause of such problems is a bad software update.

FAA currently without a leader

Wednesday 11 January 2023 15:45 , Oliver O'Connell

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently without a permanent leader as President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the agency did not receive a confirmation hearing before the Senate last year due to concerns about his aviation experience and connections to a public corruption investigation, The New York Times reports.

Just last week, Mr Biden renominated Phillip Washington, currently the chief executive of Denver International Airport.

There has been no permanent leader of the FAA since March 2021 when former Delta Air Lines executive and Trump nominee Stephen Dickson stepped down halfway through a five-year term.

The FAA has been led on an interim basis by Billy Nolen, the agency’s top safety official.

How many flights are delayed?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 15:30 , Oliver O'Connell

According to FlightAware, as of 10am ET this morning, the total delays within, into, or out of the United States today is 5,417 flights. There are also 900 cancelled flights.

By airline in descending order of the worst impacted: Southwest (44 per cent of flights delayed), American Airlines (26 per cent), Delta (24 per cent), and United and JetBlue (both 22 per cent). West coast-focussed airlines such as Alaskan and Hawaiian show a modest number of delays as the outage occurred at a time when they have a lower number of scheduled flights.

The worst affected airports for delays are Baltimore (46 per cent of flights delayed), Chicago Midway (40 per cent), Houston’s William P Hobby (33 per cent), Tampa (32 per cent), and Orlando (30 per cent).

Atlanta, Dallas Love Field, St Louis, Reagan National, LaGuardia, Nashville, Austin, Fort Lauderdale, and New Orleans all have delays ranging between 25-29 per cent of flights.

Buttigieg vows to learn ‘root cause’ of problem

Wednesday 11 January 2023 15:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has promised to get to discover the “root cause” of this morning’s air traffic problems.

He tweeted: “FAA has determined that the safety system affected by the overnight outage is fully restored, and the nationwide ground stop will be lifted effective immediately. I have directed an after-action process to determine root causes and recommend next steps.”

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How are the airlines responding?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 15:04 , Oliver O'Connell

With the ground stop lifted and normal air traffic operations resuming, the focus now falls on how well airlines and airports can get operations back up and running to schedule.

Airlines are warning that customers will see some delays, with JetBlue warning of busier than normal airports as the backlog clears.

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Delta promises more updates as soon they are available, while American Airlines appears to be fielding enquiries via direct message as phone lines are jammed and passengers are struggling to rebook with the app.

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United has issued a travel waiver to allow those impacted by the ground stop the flexibility to change their travel plans.

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Many airports averaging departure delays of 90 minutes

Wednesday 11 January 2023 14:48 , Oliver O'Connell

FlightAware data shows the following current delays at selected airports as of 9.45am ET.

Several airports are telling inbound flights to stay at their point of origin until 10am ET to allow backlogs to clear.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International

  • departure delays an average of 55 minutes (and increasing)

  • arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 1 hours 24 minutes (and increasing)

  • all inbound flights being held at their origin until Wednesday at 10:00AM EST

Boston Logan International

  • all inbound flights being held at their origin until Wednesday at 10:00AM EST

  • departure delays an average of 1 hours 24 minutes

  • arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 1 hours 2 minutes (and decreasing)

Reagan National

  • arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 1 hours 51 minutes (and increasing)

  • departure delays an average of 1 hours 28 minutes (and increasing)

Newark Liberty International

  • arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 1 hours 32 minutes (and increasing)

  • departure delays an average of 1 hours 30 minutes

John F Kennedy International

  • departure delays an average of 1 hours 14 minutes (and increasing).

LaGuardia

  • departure delays an average of 1 hours 30 minutes

  • all inbound flights being held at their origin until Wednesday at 10:00AM EST

  • arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 1 hours 26 minutes (and decreasing)

Orlando

  • departure delays an average of 1 hours 28 minutes (and increasing)

  • arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 1 hours 7 minutes (and decreasing)

Chicago O’Hare

  • departure delays an average of 1 hours 18 minutes (and increasing)

  • arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 1 hours 34 minutes (and increasing)

Widespread delays across east coast

Wednesday 11 January 2023 14:29 , Oliver O'Connell

The knock-on effect of the ground stop has begun to ripple across the US, occurring as it did when commuter flights were beginning one of the busiest times of the day.

FlightAware’s MiseryMap of delays and cancellations shows upwards of three-quarters of flights cancelled and delayed in New York, Boston, Washington Dc, Chicago, and Charlotte.

Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Detroit, and Minneapolis have also been badly impacted. As of 9.30am ET, west coast airports still appear unaffected but are also dealing with the impact of severe weather.

FlightAware’s MiseryMap shows huge proportions of delays and cancellation (red) versus on time services (green) at major air travel hubs across the US (FlightAware)
FlightAware’s MiseryMap shows huge proportions of delays and cancellation (red) versus on time services (green) at major air travel hubs across the US (FlightAware)

‘Haven’t seen a ground stop like this since 9/11’

Wednesday 11 January 2023 14:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Gustaf Kilander explains why domestic air travel ground to a halt this morning.

FAA system outage causes airport chaos with passengers and staff left in the dark

FAA lifts nationwide ground stop

Wednesday 11 January 2023 13:55 , Helen Coffey

According to the latest statement from the FAA, normal air traffic operations are “resuming gradually across the United States following an overnight outage to the FAA’s Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system that provides safety information to flight crews”.

The nationwide ground stop has now been lifted.

“The agency continues to look into the cause of the initial problem,” said an FAA statement

Cause of outage unclear, says President Biden

Wednesday 11 January 2023 13:53 , Reuters

President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation into the FAA system outage that grounded flights across the country this morning.

Biden told reporters at the White House he had spoken to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and they should have a good sense in a couple of hours of what triggered the outage.

“We’ll respond at that time,” Biden said. Asked if the outage was caused by a cyberattack, he said, “We don’t know.”

“They don’t know what the cause is,” Biden said. “Aircraft can still land safely just not take off right now. We don’t know what the cause of it is.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier in a Twitter post that there was no evidence of a cyber attack at this time.

Reporting by agencies

Departures resuming at Newark and Atlanta, reports FAA

Wednesday 11 January 2023 13:19 , Lucy Thackray

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that operations are resuming at two airports, Newark Liberty and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, adding that it still expects all US departures to resume from 9am EST (2pm GMT).

“The FAA is making progress in restoring its Notice to Air Missions system following an overnight outage,” it said in a statement.

“Departures are resuming at Newark Liberty and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airports due to air traffic congestion in those areas.

“We expect departures to resume at other airports at 9am Eastern Time.”

Airborne flights ‘safe to land’ in US, clarifies FAA

Wednesday 11 January 2023 13:16 , Lucy Thackray

The FAA has clarified that all flights currently airborne and coming into the US are safe to land, despite the outage of the NOTAM system, which alerts pilots to hazards on their journey.

“All flights currently in the sky are safe to land,” said the federal agency in a tweet.

“Pilots check the NOTAM system before they fly.

“A Notice to Air Missions alerts pilots about closed runways, equipment outages, and other potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the flight.”

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What sort of IT outage is the FAA reporting?

Wednesday 11 January 2023 13:08 , Lucy Thackray

The Federal Aviation Administration this morning reported that its NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) IT system was failing to process information.

The FAA describes NOTAM as as system which “indicate[s] the real-time and abnormal status of the NAS (National Air Space) impacting every user”.

It notifies both pilots and airport and ground staff of a number of incidents that may affect take-offs, landings and routes.

These could include: air shows and parachute jumps, military exercises affecting airspace, volcanic ash clouds, obstacles close to airfields, significant flocks of birds likely to cause bird strikes, or closed runways and taxiways.

Aviation analyst Alex Macheras told The Independent: “NOTAMs are essential for the safe continuation of global air travel.

“These essential notices and directives ultimately keep the world’s aviation sector, specifically flight crew and all personnel concerned with flight operations, informed and up to speed with latest air travel related directives, operational updates, security, weather and warnings.

“With a system failure affecting NOTAMs, operations will be disrupted almost immediately and this will soon be felt elsewhere across the world, including for flights waiting to depart to the US.”

Flights ‘continuing to operate as planned’ - British Airways

Wednesday 11 January 2023 13:04 , Lucy Thackray

A British Airways spokesperson has said its flights are “continuing to operate as planned”.

“Our flights to and from the US are continuing to operate as planned. We advise customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information,” said the spokesperson.

Heathrow Airports does not currently show any delayed or cancelled US flights.

Gates are currently closing on flights to Seattle, Tampa and Nashville.

‘No evidence of cyberattack’ says Press Secretary

Wednesday 11 January 2023 12:53 , Lucy Thackray

The White House’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has said there is “no evidence of a cyberattack at this point” on the FAA’s systems, and that an investigation has been launched into the cause of the outage.

“The President has been briefed by the Secretary of Transportation this morning on the FAA system outage,” tweeted Ms Jean-Pierre.

“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.”

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Thousands of UK passengers could miss US connections

Wednesday 11 January 2023 12:44 , Simon Calder

Most British Airways flights from London Heathrow during Wednesday morning departed between two and three hours behind schedule, including flights to Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, New York JFK and Washington.

The longest delay was of an American Airlines flight to Phoenix, which was over three hours late.

Many thousands of passengers are booked on connecting flights with transfer times as low as one hour.

If a connection is missed, traveller with through tickets – such as London-Chicago-Kansas City – can expect to be booked on the next available flight, though with may planes heavily sold, seats are at a premium.

For flights to and from the US, no compensation is owed to passengers under European air passengers’ rights rules.

But the requirement for airlines to provide meals and, if necessary, accommodation until the traveller can reach their destination should apply to those with through tickets.

US disruption ‘will soon be felt elsewhere across the world’, says analyst

Wednesday 11 January 2023 12:33 , Lucy Thackray

Aviation analyst Alex Macheras has told The Independent: “NOTAMs are essential for the safe continuation of global air travel.

“These essential notices and directives ultimately keep the world’s aviation sector, specifically flight crew and all personnel concerned with flight operations, informed and up to speed with latest air travel related directives, operational updates, security, weather and warnings.

“With a system failure affecting NOTAMs, operations will be disrupted almost immediately and this will soon be felt elsewhere across the world, including for flights waiting to depart to the US.”

On Twitter Mr Macheras predicted: “Flights will be unable to resume until [the system failure is] resolved.”

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FAA is ‘working swiftly’, says Buttigieg

Wednesday 11 January 2023 12:26 , Lucy Thackray

The US Secretary for Transportation Pete Buttigieg has said the FAA is “working to resolve this issue swiftly”, as hundreds of flights remain grounded and many more disrupted by the system outage.

“I have been in touch with FAA this morning about an outage affecting a key system for providing safety information to pilots,” tweeted Mr Buttigieg.

“FAA is working to resolve this issue swiftly and safely so that air traffic can resume normal operations, and will continue to provide updates.”

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All domestic departures paused until 9am ET, says FAA

Wednesday 11 January 2023 12:22 , Lucy Thackray

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an update on the status of their NOTAM system, the failure of which has grounded and delayed flights across the US.

“While some functions are beginning to come back on line, National Airspace System operations remain limited,” said a spokesperson

“The FAA has ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures until 9am Eastern Time [2pm GMT] to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information.”

Flights grounded across US following major FAA system outage

Wednesday 11 January 2023 12:11 , Lucy Thackray

Thousands of flights have been grounded across the US after the Federal Aviation Administration’s IT system suffered a “major failure”.

The NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system, which keeps pilots and other airport staff updated about aviation hazards and airport facilities, has stopped processing information as of Wednesday morning.

The FAA said there was no nationwide ground stop, but confirmed the NOTAM system was down, with engineers currently working on the issue.

The FAA describes NOTAM as as system which “indicate[s] the real-time and abnormal status of the NAS (National Air Space) impacting every user”.

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Flights grounded across US following major FAA outage

Wednesday 11 January 2023 12:08 , Helen Coffey

Good afternoon, and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog. We’ll be sharing all the latest updates on the system failure that has prompted the delay of hundreds of flights across the US.

Nav Canada’s NOTAM system restored

Wednesday 11 January 2023 19:20 , Oliver O'Connell

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The Independent has contacted Nav Canada for a statement and explanation.