FAA's temporary ground stop impacts travelers nationwide

NOW: FAA’s temporary ground stop impacts travelers nationwide

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Travelers across the country experienced an unexpected 90-minute halt of all departures Wednesday morning.

“Next thing we know, they told us there’s a nationwide ground hold,” says one traveler.

“I noticed it was red, it was FAA issues, so everyone’s affected,” says another traveler about seeing the warnings concerning the outing.

The outing affected the transmission of important safety messages to pilots, known as NOTAMS, or Notices to Air Missions.

“What it is, is a standardized uniform way for getting important safety messages out to airports, aircraft, airlines,” explains Pete Buttigieg, United States Secretary of Transportation.

Irregularities with the NOTAMS were first detected overnight, but carried into the morning, reflecting a bigger system issue, and not being able to validate that the safety messages were going through to pilots.

After about 90 minutes, the FAA announced that operations had been resumed, but congestion still caused a headache for some travelers.

“Flights are operating, though we are going to see the ripple effects of this morning’s delays working throughout the system during the day,” says Buttigieg.

It’s still unclear what exactly caused the outage. Buttigieg, a former Mayor of South Bend, is now facing the problem head-on, saying they’re not ruling out the possibility of a cyber-attack just yet.

Buttigieg is reassuring passengers that the halt was out of concern for their safety, and steps are being taken to prevent an outage like this from happening again.

“The bottom line for us is always going to be safety,” reassures Buttigieg. “My primary interest, now that we’ve gotten through the immediate disruptions of the morning is understanding exactly how this was possible and exactly what steps are needed to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

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