FAA Admits ‘Unintentionally Deleted Files’ Caused Jan 11 Mass System Failure, Nationwide Flight Chaos

A red faced U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) admitted Thursday its staff “unintentionally deleted files” in a key computer system causing the January 11 commercial airline ground stop, which affected more than 11,000 flights and caused mayhem for travelers.

Reuters reports the FAA said the human error occurred while personnel were working “to correct synchronisation between the live primary database and a backup database”, and it had “so far found no evidence of a cyber attack or malicious intent.”

The system outage occurred on January 10, but the ground stop was not issued until the following morning by which time countless flights were already being grounded or diverted and tens of thousands of domestic fliers were learning of the chaos that lay ahead.

The outage led to the first U.S. nationwide grounding of departing flights since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Last week, a group of 120 members of Congress demanded answers from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the FAA about the system fiasco.

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