According to a recent story, an engineer is to blame for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NOTAM system failure that prevented any domestic flight departures on Wednesday morning.
Following Wednesday’s disaster, a senior FAA official told ABC News on Thursday that system monitoring of the NOTAM system was at an extraordinarily high level.
On Wednesday morning, an engineer accidentally changed one file with another while doing a regularly scheduled system maintenance task, the official claimed, adding that the engineer was not aware of the error.
The FAA representative also mentioned that Canada’s NOTAM system experienced issues on Wednesday, though it is still unknown whether these issues were related to the American outage. Canadian flights were not compelled to be grounded, and the official noted that Canada’s system is more advanced.
The NOTAM malfunction on Wednesday resulted in flight delays that continued into Thursday. On Thursday morning, more than 80 flights were canceled and more than 600 flights inside, into, or out of the United States were delayed.
NOTAMS has long been the target of criticism from a business association known as the OPSGROUP. “We communicate the most critical flight information, using a system invented in 1920, with a format unchanged since 1924, burying essential information that will lose a pilot their job, an airline their aircraft, and passengers their lives, in a mountain of unreadable, irrelevant bulls***,”
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which 193 member governments pay and direct to assist their air transport diplomacy and cooperation, underlined the extensive amounts of notices and coordination needed to ensure smooth air traffic flow in 2021.
“On any given day, there are some 35,000 active NOTAM circulating in the global air transport system. In 2020, the total number of NOTAM issued exceeded 1.7 million. It is not uncommon for a pre-flight briefing package supporting a long-haul international flight to contain more than 100 pages of NOTAM information. Findings have shown that twenty percent of these will be old NOTAM, exceeding their three-month applicability period.”