The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suspended on Wednesday all U.S. domestic flights due to NOTAM (Notice to Air Mission) system outage, used to distribute important information to pilots and other aviation personnel about conditions that may affect the safety of flight.
A corrupted file is believed to be the reason behind the system malfunctions that led to the first national grounding of flights in about two decades. “The FAA is continuing a thorough review to determine the root cause of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system outage. Our preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file. At this time, there is no evidence of a cyber attack. The FAA is working diligently to further pinpoint the causes of this issue and take all needed steps to prevent this kind of disruption from happening again,” stated the agency.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also said there is “no evidence of a cyberattack at this point,” adding that “the president (Joe Biden) has directed the Department of Transportation to conduct a full investigation into the causes and provide regular updates. Again, this is incredibly important to top priority the safety of Americans who are flying. We want to make sure that they’re safe.”
The system outage that grounded all domestic flights for several hours also caused the cancelation of more than 1,300 flights to or from US airport and the delay of more than 9,500 flights according to FlightAware.
The FAA said in a Twitter post at 3:50PM on Wednesday that “normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the U.S. following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted.” “We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem,” the agency added.