(CNSNews.com) – In one of several updates on Wednesday morning, the FAA tweeted at 8:50 a.m. EST that “Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the U.S. following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted. We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also tweeted around the same time that “FAA has determined that the safety system affected by the overnight outage is fully restored, and the nationwide ground stop will be lifted effective immediately. I have directed an after-action process to determine root causes and recommend next steps.”
The nationwide ground stop of departing U.S. flights lasted for several hours on Wednesday, starting around 6:30 a.m. EST and ending around 8:50, although thousands of cascading delays and flight cancellations are expected to last through the day.
But the FAA apparently knew about the computer problem many hours before the public learned about it.
As PBS reported: “According FAA advisories, the NOTAM system failed at 8:28 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday preventing new or amended notices from being distributed to pilots. The FAA resorted to a telephone hotline in an effort to keep departures flying overnight, but as daytime traffic picked up it overwhelmed the telephone backup system.”
President Biden said he doesn’t know what caused the NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) computer system to fail.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said the “chilling” thing about the FAA’s NOTAM system failure and nationwide ground stop “is the fact that this is happening and going on” in the first place.
“We have known about it overnight,” Biggs said, adding that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as of early Wednesday morning, had “no idea what happened or how they are going to fix it and how long it is going to last. That is an enormous impact on our economy and travelers today.”
President Biden told reporters Wednesday morning he’d spoken with Buttigieg: “They don’t know what the cause is. But I was on the phone with him the last 10 minutes. I told them to report directly to me when they find out,” Biden said.
He added moments later: “They don’t know what the cause of it is. They expect in a couple of hours they’ll have a good sense of what caused it and will respond at that time.”
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