Airlines worked hard to put the travel chaos behind them. A computer outage forced the Federal Aviation Administration to halt all departures nationwide on Thursday while it worked to resolve the problem.
According to flight tracking website FlightAware, just over 440 flights into, out of, and into the United States were delayed as of early Thursday morning — a pitiful number compared to the thousands of flights that were delayed Wednesday after the system that sends pilots critical information needed to fly went down.
According to a senior government official, the problem was caused by a corrupted file that affected both the primary and backup systems of the FAA’s NOTAM system. Officials said they are still looking into the matter.
In a statement, the FAA stated that it was “conducting a thorough review to determine the root cause” of the NOTAM system outage. “Our preliminary investigation has linked the outage to a corrupted database file. There is currently no evidence of a cyber attack “It stated.
Passengers and carriers alike hoped for a return to normal operations, but Captain Chris Torres, vice president of the Allied Pilots Association, warned that the chaotic situation could “cause ripple effects.”
“At 9 a.m. Eastern, this thing was lifted. That doesn’t mean the issue goes away at 9 a.m. This will have repercussions,” Torres, whose members fly for American Airlines, told Reuters.
Flight delays and cancellations can be a major inconvenience for customers flying within the United States, with long driving distances and a relatively limited passenger rail network making for difficult alternatives.
According to Transportation Department guidelines, anyone whose flight was cancelled is entitled to a full refund. Meanwhile, major domestic carriers such as American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta announced that they would waive rebooking fees for passengers.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday night that the FAA would work to narrow down the source of the problem and identify preventative measures. He also agreed with the agency that there is no evidence of a cyber attack.
“One of the questions we need to look at right now, and one of the things I’m asking the FAA about, is what is the state of the art in this type of message traffic?” Buttigieg told Andrea Mitchell of NBC News earlier Wednesday. “And, once again, how is this level of disruption possible?”
After being briefed by Buttigieg, President Joe Biden ordered an investigation into the matter.