US Aviation Regulator Probe System Outage After Huge Disruption

Written by on January 12, 2023

Aviation authorities were racing Wednesday to figure out what caused the outage of a crucial alert system that forced the temporary halt on all US domestic takeoffs, triggering thousands of delays and cancellations.


The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said normal operations were being restored but the early morning halt created knock-on effects that snarled travel throughout the day.



The grounding order was issued after the FAA identified an issue with the Notice to Air Missions system (NOTAM), which provides information to pilots about hazards, changes to airport facilities and information that can affect flights.

“Our preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file,” the FAA said in a tweet Wednesday evening, adding that “at this time, there is no evidence of a cyberattack.”


The temporary outage spelled yet another hellish day for US travelers — less than a month after a bad winter storm roiled the system.


Wednesday’s nationwide order was believed to be the first time since the attacks of 9/11 that such a broad command had been issued, according to aviation experts cited in US media. The FAA did not respond to queries seeking confirmation.


Near 8:00 pm eastern time (0100 GMT Thursday), more than 1,300 flights within, into or out of the United States had been canceled, with more than 9,800 suffering delays, according to flight tracking website Flight Aware.

The difficulties sparked fresh criticism on Capitol Hill and throughout Washington of the FAA, which has had no confirmed administrator since March.

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