FAA: Ground Stop Caused By Damaged Database File

January 12, 2023

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said late Wednesday the mass system outage that caused a two-hour ground stop across the country earlier in the day was due to a “damaged database file.”

Outbound flights slowly began to resume at roughly 9am Eastern Time after the FAA had grounded them nationwide around 7am. No inbound flights already en route to their destinations were impacted by the ground stop.  

In a statement, the FAA late Wednesday also reiterated statements made by the White House earlier on Wednesday that there was “no evidence of a cyber attack,” adding that it is “continuing a thorough review to determine the root cause.”

The FAA had conducted a hard reset overnight when the system crashed. 

By Wednesday night more than 10,000 flights had been delayed so far and over 1,300 canceled, according to online flight tracker FlightAware.

Aviation analysts have warned the delays and cancelations could potentially ripple through Thursday into Friday. 

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said Wednesday her panel plans to investigate the FAA outage, “and how redundancy plays a role in preventing future outages.”

The Department of Transportation (DOT) said it’s conducting what’s called an “after-action process” to determine the root causes of the incident—in other words, “Understanding exactly how this was possible, and exactly what steps are needed to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” according to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

Both the Senate Commerce Committee and the DOT are already investigating the thousands of flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines that left holiday travelers stranded at airports when a massive winter storm swept across the country in late December.

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