A major Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system failed overnight, grounding planes across the United States. The FAA issued a warning notice early Wednesday stating that the United States NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system “failed” but that “normal air traffic operations are gradually resuming.”
The regulator tweeted Wednesday evening that it was still investigating the outage and that it had been connected to “a corrupted database file.”
According to Reuters, NOTAM is a critical system that keeps pilots and other flight staff aware of the state of airports across the country. In addition, it can provide information on runway closures, bird risks, and other roadblocks.
The agency earlier announced that it had “ordered airlines to suspend all domestic departures” until 9 a.m. ET to “validate the integrity of flight and safety information.” Before the FAA directive, at least one airline, United, issued a message stating that all flights had been grounded.
The FAA later announced that departures from a few airports have resumed after “making progress in restoring its Notice to Air Missions system following an overnight outage.”
At 8:50 a.m. ET, a tweet confirmed the restoration and stated that the ground stop had been lifted.
“The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System,” the FAA said in an earlier statement.
“We are performing final validation checks and repopulating the system now. Operations across the National Airspace System are affected.” Another statement by the White House press secretary said, “There is no evidence of a cyberattack at this point,” but the FAA is still looking into the cause of the issue.
Flight tracking service FlightAware recorded approximately 9,600 delayed and 1,300 canceled flights in the United States at one point.
Flight delays in the United States had an impact on airports across the world. Aéroports de Paris, or Airports of Paris, the international airport operator, stated all operations by US carriers had been delayed. However, it said that non-US airlines were continuing to operate normally.
Air France said all of its flights to the United States were unaffected by the FAA computer outage and operating as scheduled.
“As far as we are aware, we are continually operating to/from the United States at the moment,” stated a spokesperson for Gatwick Airport in London.