FAA Grounds Flights Nationwide After Computer System Failure

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded flights nationwide Wednesday morning after a failure of the agency’s computer systems. This is the first time since 9/11 that all planes nationwide have been grounded.


In a statement early Wednesday, the agency said, “THE FAA is experiencing an outage that is impacting the update of NOTAMS. All flights are unable to be released at this time.”

NOTAMS, according to the FAA, is “a notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means. It states the abnormal status of a component of the National Airspace System (NAS) – not the normal status.”

At 7:19 a.m., the FAA tweeted that it had ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures until 9 a.m. Eastern Time “to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information.”

The agency continued to update the public throughout the morning via Twitter:


At 8:50 a.m., the FAA tweeted that the ground stop had been lifted. “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.”

Related: Impotent Buttigieg Huffs and Puffs at Flailing Southwest Airlines

White House spokeswoman Katherine Jean-Pierre tweeted that the president had been briefed on the situation by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Jean-Pierre said, “There is no evidence of a cyberattack at this point.”

Just before 9 a.m., Mayor Pete announced that the system had been fully restored, adding that he would launch an “after-action process,” which is corporate-speak for “we’ll make a good show of trying to get to the bottom of this.”


The FAA system failure comes on the heels of widespread flight cancelations by Southwest and other airlines over the holidays that stranded thousands of passengers.

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