American airports were filled this Wednesday with resigned passengers after the cancellation or delay of their flights due to a technical failure and they cross their fingers that the situation returns to normal and they can reach their destinations as soon as possible.
“They have delayed my flight for only two hours and I hope it won’t be more,” Yudishe, 24, told Efe, who had to take off from the Ronald Reagan airport in the US capital to Dallas (Texas) early this morning.
Early in the morning, the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States (FAA, for its acronym in English) reported that it had ordered the suspension of all domestic flight departures until 9:00 a.m. Eastern time in the country (2:00 p.m. GMT) for a breakdown in a computer system, which was raised shortly before that time.
“They have told us that there has been a failure in the system and that it has affected all flights, but I have received an email from American Airlines explaining that it has already been solved and that my flight takes off at 12:20,” Yudishe explains in the corridors. of an airport in relative calm, despite the complexity of the situation.
This is the first time that the US has suspended domestic flight departures since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The breakdown in the Notification to Air Missions (NOTAM) system of the country’s federal aviation, in charge of sending safety alerts in real time to pilots, has so far caused almost 7,000 delays and more than 1,000 cancellations.
At the airport in the US capital, a total of 39 flights have been canceled so far, including that of Earl, 45, who had to travel this morning to Fort Myers (Florida) on an American Airlines flight.
Accompanied by a large backpack, he waits for the new flight assigned to him, without having checked in yet because he needs the things inside.
“They notified me of the cancellation by phone when I was already inside, near the boarding gate. I had checked the suitcase, but I needed what was inside so I went out again,” he explained to Efe. And he doesn’t want to bill at the moment, he adds, in case he’s late again.
In a row of chairs at the doors of the arrivals area, Estrella and her family, Hondurans, are waiting for another family member who is arriving from their country. “He had a stopover in Miami and his flight left two hours late, but at least the plane is already in the air and we know it will arrive soon,” she says.
NOTAM is a fundamental tool to ensure safety on board given its ability to quickly transmit data on a change in flight conditions. The system has been in use since 1947 when it was agreed that all flights should adopt this mechanism, modeled on the system used to communicate information to ship captains when they are at sea.
At the moment, the reasons that have caused the failure of the system that the FAA and the White House itself are investigating are unknown, an event that has filled the airports with journalists and that comes only a few days after the chaos unleashed in much of the country. by storm Elliot.
At the gates of Christmas, the drama filled the airports with thousands of affected passengers, who could not get home to celebrate with their loved ones, a situation far from what is being experienced today.
At the airport there are also many passengers with a flight “on time”, they tell Efe, including Rebecca Yato, 51, whose flight is “on time” for the moment on the screen.
“This is the plane I’m going to get on and it says it’s in the air right now. It’s coming from Tampa, Florida and it’ll be here at 12:11. Our flight is at 12:15 and there’s no way it’s leaving on time, but I think it will not be too late,” she told Efe, showing a tracker on her mobile phone that shows where the plane she will board is.
She doesn’t normally check flights that much, she adds, but this morning a friend texted her that there was a problem and she decided to monitor the plane so she wouldn’t have to wait long in a generally quiet airport that is now much more hectic than the normal.
This story was originally published on January 11, 2023 10:56 a.m.
Source: El Nuevo Herald