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After a computer outage, air travel around the US was pushed into chaos

By 01/11/2023 9:22 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

On Wednesday, a cascading outage in a federal system resulted in the cancellation or delay of thousands of flights across the United States, forcing the world’s largest aircraft fleet to remain grounded for hours.

When the outage that disrupted millions of passengers’ travel plans occurred, the White House claimed that there was no proof of a hack. Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden announced that he had asked the Department of Transportation to look into the matter.

Whatever the cause, the disruption demonstrated how reliant on air travel and a dated computer system known as the Notice to Air Missions System, or NOTAM, the world’s largest economy is.

Before starting a flight, pilots are expected to review NOTAMs, which detail potential adverse effects on aviation, from runway construction to the possibility of icing.

The system previously relied on the telephone, with pilots dialing certain flight service stations to obtain the data, but it now operates online.

By 11 a.m., more than 6,000 flights had been delayed, and over 1,000 flights had been canceled due to a NOTAM system malfunction that occurred late on Tuesday.

FlightAware, a service that tracks flights, reports that Wednesday.

As backups accumulate, the unrest is anticipated to worsen.

According to aviation data company Cirium, more than 21,000 flights were scheduled to depart from U.S. airports today, most of which were domestic journeys.

Additionally, 1,840 international planes were anticipated to arrive in the country.

Veteran aviation insiders said they could not remember a technical failure-related outage of this size.

Some have compared it to the nationwide airspace closure following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Tim Campbell, a former senior vice president of air operations at American Airlines and a consultant in Minneapolis, said,

“Occasionally, there have been minor concerns here or there, but this is quite substantial historically.

Not only the NOTAM system, according to Campbell, but all of the Federal Aviation Administration’s technology has long been a source of worry.

He noted that many of their systems were outdated mainframes, although being typically reliable.

It was the most recent annoyance for American travelers who had flight cancellations during the holidays due to winter weather and an issue with Southwest Airlines’ staffing technology.

As travel demand surged during the COVID-19 outbreak, they also encountered long queues, missing luggage, cancellations, and delays over the summer.

They also saw staffing reductions at airports and airlines in the United States and Europe.




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