El Paso, TX (KTSM) – The Federal Aviation Administration’s computer system experienced an outage that impacted thousands of flights across the country, including El Paso.
Thousands of flights were cancelled and delayed after FAA stated they had experienced a system outage. The outage grounded flights for over an hour and forced some to wait hours before resuming normal operations.
U.S. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, had stated that the FAA Communications System that failed is routinely updated and upgraded.
“This is an incredibly complex system. So, glitches or complications happen all the time, but we can’t allow them to ever lead to this level disruption and we won’t ever allow them to lead to a safety problem, he said.”
The NOTAM Computer system (Notice to Air Missions) is known for providing essential information to pilots dealing with everything from runway closures to construction equipment on the ramp, fire department activity, and even military operations.
The outage hit more than 6,000 flights, with flights and passengers in El Paso swept up as well.
“This has happened to me many times before, it’s happened to me on Southwest and also on American Eagle but getting stuck in an airport in a city where you just didn’t really expect or plan to, it’s horrifying; I’m a senior citizen,” says Rheghetta Williams, a frequent traveler.
Williams final destination was Wichita, Kansas, but after waiting hours from her flight delays, her flight was eventually cancelled by Southwest. She mentioned that she was provided a hotel, however, the string of delays, cancellations, and gate changes was overwhelming.
“We don’t have any clothes, we haven’t had anything to eat, we need to lie down, we needed a shower.”
She expressed more that she’s uncertain if she will be able to keep up traveling if these issues don’t get resolved.
“It’s getting to the point to where this is really the worse. As much as I would like to travel, you know, I just don’t think I can keep doing this if it doesn’t improve.
The White House is aware of the issue and has stated that there was no evidence of a cyberattack behind the system outage.
President Joe Biden has currently directed the department of transportation to investigate the matter further.
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