Contractor’s Error Caused FAA Outage


A picture of the FAA logo | Image by Sofema Aviation Services

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that its computer failure and subsequent outage were due to an accidental error.

The FAA halted flights for 90 minutes due to a “catastrophic” systems failure, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. This halt caused 1,300 flight cancellations and more than 10,000 flight delays, an event that some compare to the grounding on September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Karine Jean Pierre, the White House press secretary, issued a statement on January 11 that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the event and that there was no evidence of a cyber attack. She also said the Department of Transportation would conduct a full investigation.

The FAA announced that operations had returned to normal on January 12 and that unusual delays and cancellations had also ceased.

American Airlines said that refunds are available for those who had been on a canceled flight and did not travel.

The agency reported days after the initial outage that the failure resulted from a damaged database file caused by an operator error, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. However, the FAA could not determine whether the damage was intentional or not at that time.

The FAA issued a statement on January 19 clarifying that the issue causing the grounding was due to an accidental error on the part of personnel.

“A preliminary FAA review of last week’s outage of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system determined that contract personnel unintentionally deleted files while working to correct synchronization between the live primary database and a backup database,” said FAA officials in the statement.

The identity of the contract personnel members is currently unknown.

The FAA says that it has now adopted the necessary repairs and is working to make its system more resilient.

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7 days ago

Biden was briefed. Well, it would have to be brief. He has the attention span of a bird.

mary bluntzer
mary bluntzer
7 days ago

Didn’t this happen in Canada, who is on a totally different system, within days of it happening here?

Reply to  mary bluntzer
7 days ago

This happened in Canada and in the Philippines
We’re not getting the full story

1 day ago

It would appear the FAA owes money to those who were affected by this error. Just like airlines are liable for their problems to passengers. What’s good for the “goose is good for the gander” as the saying goes. Also People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.