An issue with a corrupt file in the computer system caused massive flight delays and an unprecedented order to halt all domestic flights in the United States. This is the first time in history that all domestic flights were grounded for several hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees American civil aviation, suspended all air traffic in the country until 3 p.m. (French time) due to a breakdown of the computer system that displays Notices to Airmen (Notams). These Notams provide essential information to pilots to ensure the safety of a flight throughout its navigation.

Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that the decision to halt flights was not due to a cyberattack while they were still investigating the cause of the incident. Today, the organization has determined that the cause was a corrupted file in the database. When air traffic controllers realized there was an issue with the system that delivers Notices to Airmen (Notams), they chose to restart it at the most appropriate time to minimize any potential security risks. This process typically takes around 90 minutes.

Budget Crisis

As a precautionary measure, the system was reset by injecting a backup. However, since the corrupted file was also in the backup, the problem persisted and caused the flights to be halted. To restore a healthy version of the system, air traffic controllers had to deliver flight information directly via radio messages.

The root of the issue is budget constraints. The Notam system was planned to be modernized, but the update was delayed. This major outage has led to increased funding requests, which are expected to be approved during the vote on the FAA grants budget by Congress this year.