FAA system outage draws attention to aviation system vulnerability as Canada faces similar problem – zoohousenews.com
(Natural News) Air travel delays are easing a day after all U.S. flight departures were halted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) due to a failure of the pilot’s safety alert system, but there are many questions about the cause of the incident.
Problems with the Notice To Air Mission (NOTAM) system began Tuesday afternoon. It is believed that the problem stems from a corrupted database file. The FAA restarted the system after failing to fix it, then ordered all departing flights to be halted. The order was in effect until 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.
This set off a chain reaction of flight delays that ultimately resulted in more than 10,000 delayed flights and more than 1,300 canceled flights. So far, nearly 900 flights to, from and within the United States have been delayed and 91 canceled as of Thursday, a day after the incident.
The nationwide ground stop, while rare, is a reminder of how easily America’s aviation system can be brought to a standstill, causing significant inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of people.
Just weeks earlier, an internal platform at Southwest Airlines was overloaded due to a series of weather-related cancellations. The fiasco resulted in multi-day delays and cancellations that are expected to cost the airline more than $800 million.
The FAA claims there is no evidence of a cyberattack, but this type of incident shows how someone with bad intentions could easily wreak havoc on the nation. It’s interesting to note that both the primary and backup systems were somehow fed the corrupted data file, a source told CNBC. The FAA said in a statement that it is “continuing a thorough investigation to determine the root cause” of the NOTAM outage.
The underfunded FAA is struggling to keep up with modern travel demands
Critics have long claimed that the FAA, which is tasked with safely managing the country’s commercial air travel, is underfunded and overstretched. Among other things, the agency faced the challenge of updating outdated processes and systems to keep up with the latest technological advances and keep up with the increase in air traffic. They also suffer from a lack of sufficient air traffic controllers and security specialists.
The outage prompted questions from lawmakers across the political spectrum, and it is expected that there will be hearings to provide additional funding for the regulator. Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg promised to investigate, telling reporters: “If there’s a problem with a system of government, it will be ours, we will find it and we will fix it.”
“In this case we needed to ensure there was full confidence in the safety of flight operations, which is why there was the conservative but important step of taking that pause and making sure everything is working again.”
Experts believe the impact of yesterday’s outage will be felt at least until Friday, and some airlines like United Airlines are already warning travelers to continue to watch out for more cancellations and delays.
Canada’s NOTAM system was also affected by disruptions
Interestingly, Canada’s NOTAM system, operated by a private nonprofit called Nav Canada, which has been hired to operate the country’s air traffic control system, also experienced a brief disruption on Wednesday, making it impossible to send airlines new updates. This caused no delays. While Nav Canada attributes the problem to a computer hardware failure and says it doesn’t believe its failure is related to that in the US, it’s a notable coincidence that these usually very reliable systems failed in separate incidents in two neighboring countries on the same day .
Sources for this article are: