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Ground stop lifted, flights gradually resuming after overnight computer failure, FAA says

Posted at 6:26 AM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 16:47:43-05

CLEVELAND — A computer failure at the FAA caused US airports to ground all flights for several hours Wednesday morning, but the FAA says flights should be resuming after the system was restored.

Click here for continuing updates to this story from the national Scripps News team.

"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," the FAA tweeted at 8:50 a.m. Wednesday.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, flight status information was unavailable on the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport website.

The agency said at 8:15 a.m. ET some flights out of Newark, New Jersey, and Atlanta could resume. Flights elsewhere were expected to begin taking off around 9 a.m. ET.

The FAA had ordered airlines to pause domestic departures until 9 a.m. Eastern Time "to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information."

Yvonne Askew of Cleveland was on the last leg of trip back from Grenada and was delayed in Washington. "Our flight was three, three and a half hours late that's not so bad in the scheme of things but it would have been better being delayed in Grenada three and a half hours," she said.

She was already on board her flight to Cleveland when she was asked to de-plane, unaware of what was going on other than being told it was something with the FAA. "Actually I wondered did somebody find the big button that said turn it all off."

She was lucky in that her delay was just a few hours. Shawn Safadi of Cleveland had just checked his bags this morning for a flight to Tel Aviv. "Everything was fine and then you know half an hour later they say the flight just cancelled," he said. So he spent a good part of his day waiting to get back his bags for the next flight they could get him on tomorrow. "Which is not really good but it is what it is."

President Joe Biden responded to the incident early Wednesday morning.

"I just spoke with (Transportation Secretary Pete) Buttigieg. They don't know what the cause is. But I was on the phone with him" Biden said. "I told them to report directly to me when they find out. Aircraft can still land safely, just not take off right now. They don't know what the cause of it is; they expect in a couple of hours, they'll have a good sense of what caused it and will respond at that time."

The White House said it has "no evidence" of this being caused by a cyberattack "at this point."

The affected system is responsible for sending out flight hazards and real-time restrictions to pilots known as NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions).

"THE FAA is experiencing an outage that is impacting the update of NOTAMS. All flights are unable to be released at this time," the FAA said in a statement.

American Airlines told ABC News that it has only meant delays for their flights for the moment.

The FAA said at 6:30 a.m. that they were performing final validation checks and reloading the system.

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