What We Know About the FAA Outage

What We Know About the FAA Outage

(AmericanProsperity.com) – After a rough holiday season for air travel, forcing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground thousands of flights on January 11, the industry faced yet another wave of cancellations and delays. The FAA issued its first advisory just after 4 a.m. letting the public know its Notice to Air Missions system (NOTAM) had a technical issue. Hours later, the agency put a hold on domestic departures to verify it was safe for flights to take off. Here’s what caused the sudden outage.

No Cyber Attack, Just Corruption

US Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced on Twitter in the evening hours of January 11 that a preliminary review of the NOTAM system didn’t indicate any nefarious cause behind the outage. Buttigieg declared he would direct the FAA to further review the issue to get to the bottom of it.

According to a statement from the administration, their preliminary investigation uncovered that a damaged database, or corrupt file, was the cause of the outage. The FAA asserted it would continue to look into the issue and take the necessary steps to ensure a similar occurrence wouldn’t happen again.

Outdated Software

The FAA’s scapegoat for the massive outage may have been a corrupted file or damaged database, but the software the administration uses to run NOTAM is severely outdated. According to NBC News, the system is over three decades old. The real kicker is there were no plans to upgrade or update it for another six years. The shocking revelation stirred up questions about why the agency is still relying on software that was installed in 1993.

Americans Grounded

The outage left tens of thousands of travelers stranded after the FAA grounded domestic flights. The pause on travel came as the administration attempted to verify that flight information was secure and safe. By the time flights finally resumed, airports across the nation were already crowded and backed up.

The Wall Street Journal, using data from FlightAware, noted that over half of the more than 21,400 flights on January 11 ended up being delayed — a total of 10,549. The outage also resulted in 1,353 canceled flights. The delays from the outage poured over into the next day as the FAA continued to unravel the issue and recover from the system mishap.

The outage only impacted flights that hadn’t taken off yet, so those in the air were still able to land. Pilots use NOTAM to look for any hazardous conditions before their flights, not during, so the airplanes already on their way didn’t receive the corrupted data and were able to safely get their passengers to their destinations.

~Here’s to Your Prosperity!

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