FAA lifts airline ground stop as flight delays, cancellations pile up across the country

FAA system outage causes thousands of flight delays, cancellations, as investigators hunt for cause

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ground stop order Wednesday morning after suffering a nationwide technical system outage causing mass cancellations and delays.

The travel chaos was caused by the failure of the FAA's Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system, which alerts pilots and other personnel about airborne issues and other delays at airports across the country. More than 1,000 flights were canceled in the U.S., and more than 6,700 more flights in the U.S. were delayed, as of 11:30 a.m. ET.

FAA investigators are continuing to search for the cause of the outage.

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"Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the United States following an overnight outage to the FAA’s Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system that provides safety information to flight crews," the FAA wrote in its fifth update of the morning.

Passengers wait in terminal as FAA system outage causes flight delays, cancellations

Passengers wait to depart Chicago's Midway Airport as flight delays stemming from a computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration has brought flights to a standstill across the U.S. Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Chicago.  (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Newsroom)

"The ground stop has been lifted. The agency continues to look into the cause of the initial problem," the statement continued.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 52.99 +0.29 +0.55%
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. 14.52 -0.21 -1.43%
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC. 54.62 -0.35 -0.64%
LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 28.20 +0.34 +1.22%

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Most airlines had already chosen to ground their own craft due to the system's failure early Wednesday.

Man looks at flight schedules with delays

Steve Gasser of Chicago looks at flight information screen at Chicago's Midway Airport that reflects the flight delays stemming from a computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration that brought flights to a standstill across the U.S. Wednesd (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Newsroom)

United Airlines announced its decision to ground all of its aircraft until 10 a.m. ET due to the outage.

The incident comes roughly a week after an air traffic issue prompted the FAA to slow all flight traffic in Florida earlier in January. That failure involved the En Route Automation Modernization at airports across the state.

PILOTS SAY FAA COMPUTER OUTAGE THAT GROUNDED US FLIGHTS NATIONWIDE UNPRECEDENTED

Southwest airplanes lined up

Four Southwest Airlines passenger jets sit at their gates at Chicago's Midway Airport as flight delays stemming from a computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration has brought departures to a standstill across the U.S. Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2 (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Newsroom)

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The earlier January incident affected Southwest Airlines in particular, leaving many travelers stranded without their bags.