The White House and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said they did not suspect a cyberattack or other outside activity. said. This decision wreaked havoc on the system for the rest of the day — it deserved a lot of attention.
“It’s been another challenging day for the U.S. aviation industry,” Buttigieg told those gathered at the Transportation Research Conference in Washington on Wednesday. Although the issue has been resolved, the country continues to see “system-wide repercussions,” he said.
The failure of the FAA’s Notice to Air Missions system (NOTAM) comes just days after a meltdown at Southwest Airlines crippled operations before Christmas. technology infrastructure. Lawmakers have pledged to investigate the latest turmoil as they begin work on a major package of legislation related to FAA funding this year.
What is NOTAM, the FAA system that failed and caused massive delays?
The nationwide suspension of flights is the first since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, said Michael McCormick, a former agency official.
“This is unprecedented, and the steps the FAA has had to take to stop all flights make it all the more important,” said a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. One McCormick said.
The NOTAM system delivers warnings of potential safety issues that aircraft may face, such as runway closures. Crew members must confirm the notification before takeoff.
According to the FAA’s bulletin, the outage of NOTAM services began at 3:28 pm ET on Tuesday. Buttigieg said the backup system was enabled and the main system was restarted before the problem reoccurred.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, the FAA issued a bulletin saying it was activating a hotline to manage the issue and inviting airlines to participate.
At midnight Tuesday, “it became clear that there were still problems with the accuracy of information going through the NOTAM system,” Buttigieg said.
Around 5 a.m. Wednesday, the FAA performed a “full reboot” of the system, Buttigieg said. Buttigieg said the fix’s attempt to completely resolve the issue “has not been validated sufficiently to be reassuring.”
“At that point, there was a move to initiate a ground stop until the FAA could fully verify that the NOTAM was not only placed correctly, but was actually disembarking the aircraft,” Buttigieg said. I got
This rare nationwide ground stop was issued at 7:21 a.m. and halted most commercial flights in the country for about 90 minutes, while airports and airlines struggled with backlogs for hours.
White House spokeswoman Carine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday that President Biden had instructed the Department of Transportation to investigate the cause of the failure of the FAA system after being briefed. Congress has also vowed to consider such issues when it opens public hearings on funding to the FAA.
A Guide to Surviving Airport Chaos
Wednesday’s issue arose in an effort to modernize the system and address other concerns that have arisen over the years. The FAA said he consolidated the information in one place, facilitating the process for computers to capture the data, and the pilot is working on a long-standing effort to improve its alert system.
“In short, there is no flight without NOTAM,” the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said in a statement. “Everyone involved in this matter understands that systems and technology need to be updated.”
Buttigieg said the FAA’s safety systems are in constant need of upgrades and updates.
“Many processes are currently underway at the FAA to keep these systems up to date,” he said. “It’s certainly been a big topic for a long time, and even since I’ve been in this position.”
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, has been forced to cancel more than 16,000 flights between Dec. 21 and Dec. 21. It had previously announced plans to hold public hearings over the failure of the defunct Southwest Airlines. December 31. Cantwell said Wednesday that the committee will also consider the causes of her FAA failure.
Southwest faces congressional scrutiny as it works to compensate customers
“We will investigate what caused this outage and what role redundancy is playing in preventing future outages,” she said.
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Washington), leader of the House Transportation Committee, spoke with Buttigieg on Wednesday and said, “We will continue to monitor this disruption to the air travel system until it is resolved.”
Two leading Republican lawmakers had vowed to demand accountability and change at the FAA.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the incoming Republican head of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees the FAA, “The inability to keep critical safety systems running is completely unacceptable and just the latest example of a malfunction within the Department of Transportation. ”
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, also vowed to hold those responsible accountable.
Aviation consultant Robert Mann said a key question as Congress tackles FAA legislation this year is what the government can do to modernize its system and handle the growing domestic air traffic. I said that it is. He said the FAA relies too much on aging technology.
“They can’t keep doing what they’ve been doing,” Mann said. “Many of these systems are decades old, both in hardware and software.”
NAV CANADA, the country’s air traffic control provider, said there was an outage affecting newly issued NOTAMs for approximately three hours beginning at 10:20 a.m. Eastern time. Spokeswoman Vanessa Adams said the cause is under investigation, but they don’t believe it’s related to the FAA issue.
“Mitigation measures have been taken to support continued operations,” Adams said, noting that Canada did not issue an order prohibiting flights from taking off.
More than 1,300 flights to and from the US were canceled and about 10,000 were delayed, according to flight tracking website FlightAware, even as US flights resumed on Wednesday.
American Airlines said nearly 400 flights were canceled and 850 were delayed because of the FAA issue.
The suspension prevented the airline from issuing flight plans or fueling paperwork, according to a memo circulated Wednesday by American Airlines’ director of flight operations. A memo sent later in the day noted that they also faced problems when booking crew accommodation.
The failure of the FAA’s notification system also comes as the FAA has been without a Senate-approved leader for nearly a year.
Biden named Denver International Airport chief executive Philip Washington to run the agency last spring after his former manager retired midway through his five-year term. The Senate Commerce Committee did not hold hearings or vote on Washington’s nomination last year.
He has faced scrutiny over reports about possible ties to Los Angeles investigations related to the City of Los Angeles transportation system he previously led, and after spending most of his career in transportation, he was Questions about whether you have sufficient aviation experience.
Wednesday’s issue could also exacerbate tensions between airlines and the Department of Transportation amid debate over how much responsibility air traffic controllers should take. Airlines said they would increasingly question the reliability of the FAA’s infrastructure.
Some industry leaders pointed to system failures as another example of the need to modernize the bodies that regulate and oversee national airspace.
Jeff Freeman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Travel Association, said: “Americans deserve a seamless, safe, end-to-end travel experience.”
This problem made it difficult to start the day for many travelers.
Don Cleary, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada, was scheduled to take a 9:30 am Air Canada flight from Washington to Toronto for a series of meetings in the afternoon. Instead, he’s working on his laptop at Reagan’s National Airport, checking the airline’s app to see if Air’s Canadian flight leaves Toronto before the American flight leaves New York state. I was checking to see if It will show which one is more likely to reach Washington first and leave with him on board.
As Air Canada’s flight delays grew, he had booked another ticket with American Airlines as a backup. Meanwhile, at 9:30 a.m., he kept his eyes on the terminal window, watching the runway as the jets began to taxi. It was a promising sign, but he said he couldn’t hold out hope until one of the two flights took off, with his afternoon meeting already rescheduled for Thursday.
“I need to get there today, but I fully expect things to keep getting delayed,” said Cleary, a Bethesda resident who flies to Canada almost every week. It’s my first trip this year, and I’m not off to a good start.”
Doug and Lynn Fuchs, professors at Vanderbilt University, sat on a dormant baggage conveyor belt at the National University so that Lynn could work on her laptop. They just rebooked for the 11:35am Southwest flight, which is already about 15 minutes late and arrived in Nashville at 6am on Thursday. They said they believed it was likely that the original flight would be canceled as delays escalated across the country.
“We decided to cut our losses,” said Doug Fuchs as he prepared to move back to his DC home. “I didn’t want to spend all day at the airport.”
Those whose trips have been disrupted may be out of luck if they seek compensation beyond ticket refunds.
The carriers said cancellations and delays related to Wednesday’s outage could spill over to Thursday, but they expect normal operations on Friday barring any additional issues.
Unlike Southwest Airlines’ flight disruption, which was largely caused by a glitch in the airline’s software, Wednesday’s canceled and delayed flights were not the fault of any airline. You are only required to take the customer to their final destination or provide a refund if they choose not to board the rebooked flight.
As the end of the ground stop at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport neared, the pilots began asking air traffic controllers for directions. The pilot asked if the situation was resolved at 9:02 am, according to the LiveATC.net feed. “No, it’s not all good, but we’re letting some people go,” the controller replied.
A few minutes later another pilot radioed, “What a morning.”
Natalie B. Compton, Aaron C. Davis, Annabelle Timsit, and Timothy Bella contributed to this report.