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Federal Aviation Administration lifts ground stop after ‘catastrophic system failure’

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Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg finds himself in yet another aviation transportation nightmare. Buttigieg had the pleasure of briefing and informing President Joe Biden about the overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed.

“There is no evidence of a cyberattack at this point, but the President directed DOT to conduct a full investigation into the causes,” Jean-Pierre added. “The FAA will provide regular updates.”

Despite the White House’s nonchalant attitude, the head of the U.S. Travel Association says the FAA computer outage was a “catastrophic system failure” and “a clear sign that America’s transportation network desperately needs significant upgrades.”

Flights across the United States began to gradually resume Wednesday morning around 9 am Eastern after the FAA imposed an hour-long flight pause and grounding of flights. “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 FAA said just before 9 a.m. ET. “The ground stop has been lifted. We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem.”

More than 2,500 flights within, into and out of the United States were delayed as a result of the system failure, according to FlightAware. Biden told reporters that 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,” Biden added.

Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of a nonprofit and advocacy group representing more than 1,100 member organizations in the travel industry, stated, “Americans deserve an end-to-end travel experience that is seamless and secure. And our nation’s economy depends on a best-in-class air travel system.”

“We call on federal policymakers to modernize our vital air travel infrastructure to ensure our systems are able to meet demand safely and efficiently,” added Freeman.

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