National

Nov 19, 2009 10:08 AM by Associated Press

FAA computer problem causes widespread delays

A problem with the FAA system that collects airlines' flight plans caused widespread flight cancellations and delays nationwide Thursday. It was the second time in 15 months that a glitch in the flight plan system caused delays.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said she doesn't know how many flights are being affected or when the problem will be resolved.

Another FAA spokesperson, Paul Takemoto, said the problem started between 5:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. EST. The outage is affecting mostly flight plans but also traffic management, such as ground stops and ground delays, he said.

Regarding flight plans, airplane dispatchers are now sending plans to controllers and controllers in turn are entering them into computers manually, he said.

"It's slowing everything down. We don't know yet what the impact on delays will be," Takemoto said.

An AirTran Airways spokesman said there's no danger to flights in the air, and flights are still taking off and landing.

However, spokesman Christopher White said flight plans are having to be loaded manually because of a malfunction with the automated system.

"Everything is safe in the air," White said.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport, has been particularly affected.

AirTran had canceled 22 flights and dozens more flights were delayed as of 8 a.m. EST. Delta Air Lines also has been affected.

 

 

 

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