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FAA computer glitch grounds flights across the US

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A critical Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) system has suffered a glitch, grounding flights across the US according to media reports. The FAA posted an advisory notice early Wednesday which notes that the United States NOTAM (Notice to Air Mission) system has “failed” and that engineers are working to bring it back online.

At 7:19AM ET, the agency said it had “ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures” until 9AM ET to give it time to “validate the integrity of flight and safety information.” At least one airline, United, issued a notice prior to the latest FAA directive saying it’s grounded all flights. The FAA’s grounding was subsequently extended to 9:30AM ET.

“The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System,” the FAA said in an earlier statement. “We are performing final validation checks and repopulating the system now. Operations across the National Airspace System are affected.” It added that it will provide “frequent updates” as work progresses.

NOTAM is a critical system that keeps pilots and other flight personnel informed of the status of airports across the country, Reuters reports. It can offer information on runway closures, bird hazards, and other obstacles.

As of this writing, flight tracker FlightAware reports over a thousand delayed flights in the US, and over 100 cancelled.

Update January 11th, 7:28AM ET: Added FAA statement saying it’s grounded all flights until 9AM ET.

Update January 11th, 8:12AM ET: Added FAA extending the grounding until 9:30AM ET.

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