More Than 10,000 Flight Delays and Cancellations Across the US. What Actually Happened?

More Than 10,000 Flight Delays and Cancellations Across the US. What Actually Happened?

News 2023-01-31
Early on Wednesday, January 11th, a technical fault at the Federal Aviation Administration prompted delays in aircraft travel across much of the country. As flights resumed, the agency said it was looking into the problem.

On Wednesday morning, the FAA implemented a ground stop, which is a nationwide halt on takeoffs. By 9 a.m. ET, the order had been removed.

According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware, more than 1,300 domestic flights were canceled and more than 10,000 domestic flights inside, into, or out of the United States were delayed as of 8:30 p.m. ET. Data from Cirium shows that the number of domestic flights has been increasing as airlines resume their operations, with 19,621 scheduled for Monday.

The nation's air traffic control agency, NAV Canada, tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that its NOTAM system was having technical difficulties as well, but noted that so far there had been no delays in flights as a result of the issue.

The trade association for major US airlines, Airlines for America, advised passengers to check in with their airlines frequently, suggesting them to "download their airline's app, visit the carrier's website, and verify their contact information is valid on travel records."

The Notice to Air Mission (NOTAM) system, which gives pilots critical information for the country's airports, is under attack, according to the FAA, which said it was attempting to fully restore it. The main cause of the outage was identified as a "damaged database file," the FAA stated on Wednesday night based on its preliminary findings.

The FAA also reported it was working carefully to identify the root causes of the problem and was taking all necessary precautions to stop a repeat of this type of interruption.

Passengers experience cancellations and delays: "I'm angry, but I smell like passion fruit"

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Travel plans throughout the country were hampered by the problems.

Nikkee Porcaro was filled with anxiety when she learned that her flight had been delayed on Wednesday. She found by text while heading back to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport that her Southwest Airlines aircraft to Tampa, Florida would be 40 minutes late.

However, she said the following:
"I wasn't worried about the 40 (minutes). I was aware that it was a sign of things to come."
And she was true.

The 7:40 a.m. aircraft experienced many additional delays before finally departing just after noon, preventing the 37-year-old from attending the start of New York Yankees Fantasy Camp.

While passing the time, Porcaro went shopping at the Body Shop and purchased some essential oils. She claimed, "I left with four things I didn't need but am extremely delighted with, and now I'm angry but I smell like passion fruit."

She eventually arrived in Tampa and stated that she didn't hold Southwest responsible for the delay, but the ordeal has made her nervous about her upcoming return journey later this month.

She wondered, "If this can occur on January 11th, who's to say it can't be true on January 22nd?"

According to Ahmed Abdelghany, associate dean for research at the David B. O'Maley College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, customers may anticipate headaches as airlines resume normal operations throughout the day.

He advised the following:
"Just be patient and check the airline websites for updates. We will observe how the impact spreads during the day."

Have flights been canceled by the FAA?

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Not precisely. The FAA temporarily banned new departures while it addressed the issue since the NOTAM system gives pilots essential safety information for every flight.

This is the first nationwide suspension of departures since 9/11.

Here's what Mike McCormick, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's assistant professor of applied aviation sciences, told reporters:
"This is exceptional. They had to start a ground stop across the country, which hasn't happened since September 11th, 2001. Actually, for you to understand the gravity of this."
Although many flights are anticipated to experience delays once departures are once again permitted, the majority of carriers now appear to expect to operate their daily itineraries roughly in full.

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