FORT MYERS (WINK/AP)
A computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration brought flights to a standstill across the U.S. on Wednesday, with hundreds of delays quickly cascading through the system at airports nationwide.
At 7 a.m. Eastern, there were more than 1,200 delayed flights within, into or out of the United States, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. More than 100 have been canceled.
At Southwest Florida International Airport, several flights have still been able to depart, but others have remained grounded.
“At RSW, we have flights operating on time and others are delayed,” the airport tweeted. “For the best information, contact your airline.”
Travel Alert: The Federal Aviation Administration is having some computer issues that have resulted in some cancellations and delays at airports throughout the U.S. At RSW, we have flights operating on time and others are delayed. For the best information, contact your airline.
— SWFL Int’l Airport (@RSWAirport) January 11, 2023
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a tweet that he is in touch with the FAA and monitoring the situation.
I have been in touch with FAA this morning about an outage affecting a key system for providing safety information to pilots. FAA is working to resolve this issue swiftly and safely so that air traffic can resume normal operations, and will continue to provide updates.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) January 11, 2023
Most delays were concentrated along the East Coast but were beginning to spread west. Airlines have begun to delay flights in response to the outage.
The FAA said it was working on restoring its Notice to Air Missions System.
“We are performing final validation checks and reloading the system now,” the FAA said. “Operations across the National Airspace System are affected.”
The agency said that some functions are beginning to come back online but that “National Airspace System operations remain limited.”
United Airlines said that it had temporarily delayed all domestic flights and would issue an update once it learned more from the FAA.
The FAA is working to restore what is known as the Notice to Air Missions System.
NOTAMs used to be available through a hotline, but that was phased out with the internet. The alerts span from mundane information about construction at airports to urgent flight restrictions or broken equipment.
There is a potential for widespread disruption because of the outage. All aircraft are required to route through the system, including commercial and military flights.
The agency said that it would provide frequent updates as it made progress.
AP White House Correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.