FAA Glitch Lets DFW Off Easy | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

FAA Glitch Lets DFW Off Easy

Problem causes widespread delays, but impact on DFW is minimal



    An FAA computer glitch causes widespread cancellations and delays, but delays were relatively light at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

    An FAA computer glitch caused widespread cancellations and delays Thursday, but delays were relatively light at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

    The Federal Aviation Administration said the problem, which lasted about four hours, was fixed at about 9 a.m.

    Few Delays at DFW After FAA Computer Problem

    [DFW] Few Delays at DFW After FAA Computer Problem
    An FAA computer glitch causes only minor delays at DFW Airport.
    (Published Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009)

    It started when a single circuit board in a piece of networking equipment at a computer center in Salt Lake City failed at about 5 a.m., the FAA said in a statement.

    Forty-five flights were delayed at DFW Airport, far fewer than at other big airports. American Airlines said the typical delay was about 15 to 30 minutes, with many flights on time or slightly early.

    That failure prevented air traffic control computers in different parts of the country from talking to each other. Air traffic controllers were forced to type in complicated flight plans themselves because they could not be transferred automatically from computers in one region of the country to computers in another, slowing down the whole system.

    Two large computer centers in Salt Lake City and near Atlanta were affected, as well as 21 regional radar centers around the country.

    U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said the country's aviation system is "in shambles" and the FAA needs more resources to prevent such problems from continuing.

    "If we don't deliver the resources, manpower, and technology the FAA it needs to upgrade the system, these technical glitches that cause cascading delays and chaos across the country are going to become a very regular occurrence," he said in a statement.

    Delays were particularly bad at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest. The glitch also exacerbated delays caused by bad weather in the Northeast, with airports in the Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York metro areas reporting problems. Airports around the South also reported delays and cancellations.

    The glitch slowed flight plans collected by the FAA for traffic nationwide at its centers in Salt Lake City and Hampton, Ga., outside Atlanta.

    It was reminiscent of a software malfunction that delayed hundreds of flights around the country in August 2008.

    In that episode, the Northeast was hardest hit by the delays because of a glitch at the Hampton facility, which processes flight plans for the eastern half of the United States.