Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled after an extensive system malfunction shut down commercial U.S. flights Wednesday morning, according to information provided by Flight Aware.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared early on Wednesday that it was experiencing a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system outage, which led the agency to suspend domestic flights until 9 a.m. ET. At that time, the FAA confirmed that the flights that were already in the air were safe to land, as pilots must check the NOTAM system prior to departing.
“A Notice to Air Missions alerts pilots about closed runways, equipment outages, and other potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the flight,” the FAA explained, continuing to provide updates throughout the morning.
The FAA first declared that departures would resume on the runways of Newark Liberty International Airport as well as Atlanta International Airport. In a fifth update that was released around 8:50 a.m. ET, the FAA stated 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.”
The outage, however, led to massive delays across the nation. At 11:20 a.m. ET, there were 6,477 delayed flights inside, into, or out of the United States. U.S.-related cancellations at that time stood at 1,052.