An outage in the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system halted all flights in the U.S. on Wednesday.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, many planes were already in the air when the outage occurred. The NOTAM system provides updates and key information on flight operations, such as safety and flying conditions. While FAA has not yet identified a cause, the organization said in a statement Wednesday there is no proof of a cyberattack. However, FAA did find a damaged database file.
According to CBS News, travel halted around 7 a.m. and resumed at around 9 a.m., but on an extremely delayed schedule with many flights remaining canceled. Airline companies Delta and United distributed travel waivers, which allowed anyone whose flight was canceled to rebook. Likewise, American Airlines gave customers the opportunity to reschedule canceled flights without extra payments. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, anyone whose flight has been canceled or significantly delayed is entitled to a full refund.
According to Flight Aware, 21% of flights departing from Indianapolis International Airport were delayed, while 25% of flights landing in Indianapolis were delayed.
Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, stated in a press release Wednesday that the day’s chaos has shone a light on the current outdated system of the U.S.’s transportation network. He called for federal policymakers to make changes to air travel infrastructure to guarantee efficiency and safety.
The outage comes a week after more than 4,000 flights were canceled in late December due to a severe winter storm.
According to CNN, the FAA has not had a permanent leader since March. However, Joe Biden has nominated CEO of Denver International Airport Phil Washington. Washington could potentially be the first permanent Black leader of FAA.