WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The problem that has hampered the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) operations is not the first time a major computer system failure that grounded flights to the United States on Wednesday was amid an upgrade effort. emerging technology.
The 90-minute outage, caused by a problem with a warning system that sends safety messages to pilots and others, comes less than two weeks after another critical air traffic control system caused flight delays at a major Florida airport. occurred in The latest glitch disrupted more than 11,000 flights on Wednesday.
The FAA has struggled to modernize long-standing parts of air traffic control. A 2021 Department of Transportation Inspector General (OIG) report reiterates challenges in the FAA’s multi-billion dollar next-generation air transportation system (NEXT) infrastructure project.
The OIG said its work “shows that the FAA is struggling to integrate key NextGen technologies and capabilities due to extended program delays that have caused delays in ripple effects.
along with other programs. ”
For example, in October the FAA announced it was working to end the decades-derided practice of air traffic controllers using paper flight strips to track aircraft. . However, it will take the FAA until late 2029 to adopt the change at 49 major airports.
The FAA is also attempting to modernize its Notice to Air Mission (NOTAM) system “to improve the delivery of safety-critical information to aviation personnel,” according to its website. The system provides relevant, timely and accurate safety notifications to pilots, crew members and other users of U.S. airspace.
Last April, the FAA began investing $1 billion of the $5 billion secured in an infrastructure package signed into law in 2022, including power systems, navigation and weather equipment, radar, and more. repaired and replaced major components of the air traffic control system of and a national surveillance system.
“Much work is needed to reduce the backlog of maintenance work, upgrades, and replacement of buildings and equipment necessary to safely operate our airspace,” said FAA Deputy Administrator Bradley. Mims said at the time.
In Florida, a system known as En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), used to control air traffic, prompted the FAA to issue a ground stop order on January 2, slowing traffic to airports and Disrupted hundreds of flights.
A problem with the ERAM system at Miami’s main regional air traffic control center was behind dozens of flight delays at Miami International Airport and flights to other airports in the southern United States.
In 2015, ERAM replaced 40-year-old En Route Host computers and backup systems in 20 FAA air traffic control centers nationwide.
Republican Sam Graves, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, labeled the FAA’s failure to properly maintain and operate its air traffic control system “unforgivable.”
In 2020, the FAA said, “The FAA’s ability to hire technical talent quickly and effectively
The Department of Transportation, which oversees the FAA, is struggling with information technology. In 2019, a Government Accountability Office report on his IT plans for the federal government found DOT to be one of his three major agencies without a modernization plan.
Reported by David Shepardson.Editing by Chris Sanders and Jerry Doyle
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