QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — After a nationwide grounding of planes on Wednesday morning, flights have resumed. The problem, caused by a Federal Aviation Administration computer outage, may take until sometime on Thursday to be fully resolved.
The problem was first reported by the FAA in a tweet at 6:29 a.m. It said that the agency needed to restore its Notice to Air Missions, or NOTAM, system. About 50 minutes later, the agency said that the NOTAM system was still down, but that work was underway to restore it.
“The FAA has ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures until 9 a.m. Eastern Time to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information,” the agency tweeted.
Once the grounding order was lifted, more than 1,300 flights had been canceled nationwide, according to the airplane monitoring website FlightAware. Far more flights ended up being delayed.
In fact, at LaGuardia Airport’s terminals A and B alone, almost all flights were delayed all day on Wednesday.
The mass delays resulted in situations like a passenger who only gave his first name, Ryan, experienced.
“Originally, I was supposed to go from Newark to Phoenix,” he said. “That got canceled to LaGuardia, and that got canceled,” he continued, speaking from the departures concourse at LaGuardia. “So now I’m taking an Uber to JFK” for another, non-stop flight, he said.
Nefertiti Polanco had just gotten off a flight from Miami. “This happened everywhere. It’s crazy,” she said. However, she added, it could have been much worse.
“It took, for me, an hour” of extra waiting at first, she said, “but we got a little more delayed. I’m just happy I made it.”
The residual delays are not over, according to Scott Keyes, founder of the travel website Going.com.
“We’re going to see a domino effect, probably into tomorrow,” he said in an interview.
Keyes said that the FAA computer outage, coming just two weeks after the Southwest Airlines’ nationwide plane schedule meltdown, needs to be an industry-wide wake-up call.
“It really underscores the pressing need for additional investment in behind the scenes airline technology,” he said.
“There’s a technology deficit,” he continued, “that’s causing more delays and cancelations than we ought to be seeing.”
On Wednesday, the White House said in a statement that there was no evidence that this was a cyberattack. When asked about the computer problem, President Joe Biden on Wednesday said, “They don’t know what the problem is.”