Computer glitch causes flight delays

November 20th, 2009 by – A COMPUTER glitch that caused flight delays and cancellations across the US overnight has been fixed, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.
The failure in computer systems that guide air traffic from FAA offices in Atlanta and Salt Lake City happened just after 5am local time and was resolved about five hours later.

An FAA spokesman said there was no indication of malicious intent behind the computer crash. He said it would take some time for the system to be fully operational again but procedures were returning to normal.

Air traffic controllers were forced to enter flight information by hand causing delays of about two hours at the New York area’s John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, The New York Post reported.

Delays of more than 45 minutes were experienced at Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan National Airport in the DC area.

New Jersey’s Teterboro, Chicago’s O’Hare and Philadelphia International had 15 to 30 minute delays, the FAA website said. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport also had unspecified delays. Airports on the West Coast were not as badly affected, though an FAA spokesman told Fox News, “it might be too early here for significant departure delays because traffic volume is light at this time of morning”.

The malfunction did not affect radar coverage or communications with planes, the FAA said.

An AirTran spokesman said as of 8am Thursday local time the airline had cancelled 22 flights across the US and was experiencing delays on “dozens more” flights. Delta Airlines had also cancelled flights across the US, a spokeswoman said, without putting a figure on the number of grounded planes. JetBlue flights had been delayed but none had been canceled, a spokeswoman said.

In August 2008, problems with the National Airspace Data Interchange Network, or Nadin, which handles flight plan data caused delays to hundreds of flights around the country. In the wake of that incident, FAA officials said the agency would speed up efforts to upgrade the aging Nadin system, which dates back to the 1980s.

With Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal .

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