FAA outage that grounded flights blamed on old tech and damaged database file

Enlarge / Travelers wait in a terminal at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, during an FAA outage that grounded flights across the US on January 11, 2023. (credit: Getty Images | Saul Loeb)

A Notice to Air Missions system outage that grounded flights across the US yesterday morning seems to have been caused by a damaged database file, the Federal Aviation Administration said last night.

“The FAA is continuing a thorough review to determine the root cause of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system outage,” the FAA statement said. “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.”

Citing an anonymous source, CNN reported that “air traffic control officials realized they had a computer issue late Tuesday” and decided “to reboot the system when it would least disrupt air travel, early on Wednesday morning. But ultimately that plan and the outage led to massive flight delays and an unprecedented order to stop all aircraft departures nationwide.”

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