Glitch snarls air traffic

A nationwide air traffic control computer system outage this morning snarled air traffic.

According to the FAA, the problem began around 5 a.m. (EST) when a router problem disrupted a number of air traffic management services, including flight plan processing. The problem was resolved at approximately 9 a.m. EST, according to FAA officials, who note 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, FAA officials explained. During the outage air traffic controllers managed flight plan data manually according to FAA contingency plans, officials said, adding “there is no indication the outage occurred as a result of a cyber attack.”

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

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