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According to officials, corrupt software introduced by contractors brought down the FAA system.

According to a senior government official, the software that failed and forced the Federal Aviation Administration to ground thousands of flights on Wednesday is 30 years old and is not scheduled to be updated for another six years.

According to the official, this system was installed in 1993 and runs the NOTAM system, which sends pilots critical information they need to fly.

After the FAA was able to re-launch planes, a government official stated that a corrupted file that affected both the primary and backup NOTAM systems appeared to be the source of the problem.

Investigators are trying to figure out if it was human error or malice that brought the system down, which eight contract employees had access to. According to two government sources, at least one, possibly two, of those contractors made the edit that corrupted the system.

According to NBC News, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has asked the FAA to “ensure that there are enough safeguards built into the system that this level of disruption cannot happen because of an individual person’s decision, action, or mistake.”

After being briefed by Buttigieg on Wednesday, President Joe Biden ordered an investigation.

Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded Wednesday after the FAA ordered airlines to halt all domestic departures until 9 a.m. ET “to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information” as it worked to restore the NOTAM system.

Around 8:50 a.m., the FAA lifted the ground stop, and normal air traffic operations gradually resumed. However, by that time, airports across the country were already clogged with disgruntled passengers and a backlog of flights.

Blackman, Jay

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