Pilots, crew and more made their way to work in the morning of the 11th of January, 2023, alongside passengers not expecting what was to follow. Unfortunately, a significant outage resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) systems collapsing.
The outage impacted the Notice to Air Missions (NOATM) systems. This is a system that provides safety information to flight crews. Given the systems’ importance, it would’ve been unsafe to have aircraft departing airports.
The computer outage resulted in the U.S. domestic network coming to a standstill and largely U.S. airspace. As a result, an order was issued preventing airlines from clearing aircraft to depart. A decision that is necessary and primarily impacts services around the country. This came as the FAA inspected the problem, attempted to determine the cause and performed safety checks.
Thousands of aircraft were stuck on the ground at airports across the country. While airborne flights were cleared to land or, in some instances, were forced to divert. As some passengers sat on aircraft awaiting departure, others were informed that their flight would be cancelled.
Developments come a matter of weeks after a saga involving Southwest that led to the cancellation of more than 15,000 flights across ten days and impacted travellers’ holiday season. This crisis primarily affected the U.S. domestic network as well.
The cause of the outage has yet to be confirmed, given the lack of time available. However, the U.S. president, Joe Biden, was informed of the matter as per White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. From this, it has been determined that a full investigation will be required to source the root cause of the problem.
Per Curium data, it was expected that 2.9 seats would be available for flights in the U.S. today, a fantastic number. However, passengers flying will be reduced following the outage impacting the FAA, and it’ll likely impact the following days.
At 8:52 AM, the U.S. was met with news from the Federal Aviation Administration, which confirmed that the ground stop had been lifted and regular air traffic operations would resume gradually.
However, the repercussions of halting proceedings for such a period will be huge and felt much later into the week and to the weekend.