FAA crash causes major delays nationwide


Photo by Denver International Airport

“Plane on runway” by Denver International Airport is licensed under CC By-SA.

Nationwide travel delays caused mass panic after a FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) system outage on January 11, 2022. Flight delays and cancellations resulted after the FAA computer system that sends important information to flight crew, Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM), crashed the day before.

Thousands of flights across the United States were delayed and canceled Wednesday, January 11, following a Federal Aviation Administration system failure on Tuesday, January 10. The system (NOTAM) which sends important information to pilots and flight crew when all other means of communication are disrupted had originally failed at approximately 3:28 p.m. EST.

The problem occurred after a data file was “damaged by personnel who failed to follow procedures” on Tuesday according to the FAA who stated that an engineer “replaced one file with another” resulting in the malfunction. The administration had originally believed the issue had been resolved, and after learning it hadn’t, decided to reboot the entire system and ordered that all flights be grounded across the country.

Nearly 10,000 flights had been delayed as of Wednesday evening, with over 1,300 flight cancellations. Locally, all flights out of Omaha Eppley Airfield were halted until approximately 8 a.m. with airlines lifting their flight restrictions until 9 a.m.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” one Nebraska resident said, “families were stranded all across the airport for hours, waiting for an announcement.”

Following the major disruption many in congress, and airline executives, including Ed Bastian, have pushed for more funding for the FAA.

“I lay this on the fact that we are not giving them (the FAA) the resources, the funding, the staffing, the tools, the technology they need,” Delta CEO Bastian said in an interview with CNBC.

With the outage which caused the first US National Air Space complete shutdown, Pete Butigieg, US Transportation Secretary, has taken action to avoid any further and future complications.

“Our immediate focus is technical,” Butigieg said in his interview with AP, “understanding exactly how this happened, why the redundancies and the backups that were built into the system were not able to prevent the level of disruption that we saw.”

Limited delays were expected for Thursday, January 25, and no delays are expected heading into the following week.