FAA network glitch causes manual flight plan processing


The Federal Aviation Authority experienced a networking problem that started between 5:15 am and 5:30 am today and threatened to delay flights across the US. The FAA said it fixed the issue at 9:00 am EST.

In a statement, the FAA shot down theories that a cyberattack was to blame. The statement in full:

At approximately 5:00 am EST, a router problem disrupted a number of air traffic management services including flight plan processing. The problem was resolved at approximately 9:00 am EST. Air traffic control radar and communication with aircraft were not affected during this time and critical safety systems remained up and running.

The failure was attributed to a software configuration problem within the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) in Salt Lake City. As a result, FAA services used primarily for traffic flow and flight planning were unavailable electronically.

The National Airspace Data Interchange Network (NADIN), which processes flight planning, was affected because it relies on the FTI services. During the outage air traffic controllers managed flight plan data manually and safely according to FAA contingency plans.

There is no indication the outage occurred as a result of a cyber attack.

System wide delays and cancellations will continue to be assessed throughout the day.

A team of FAA technical and safety experts is already investigating the outage. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt is meeting with representatives from Harris Corporation, the company that manages the FTI, to discuss system corrections to prevent similar outages in the future.