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Thousands of Flights Delayed After FAA Outage Caused by 'Damaged Database File'

An overnight outage grounded flights across the US, but delays persist as air traffic resumes. The FAA says it traced the outage to a damaged database file.

An employee sits in the cockpit of a passenger aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport
Air travel has been disrupted across the US. 
Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

A major FAA system outage caused by a "damaged database file" has continued to disrupt air travel across the US on Wednesday, according to the Federal Aviation Authority.

The FAA ordered a temporary halt to all domestic flight departures early Wednesday to restore its Notice to Air Missions system, or NOTAM, a critical system that alerts commercial airlines to real-time flight hazards and restrictions.

The FAA said in its latest statement on Wednesday that its "preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file" and that it is continuing a thorough review of the root cause of NOTAM's system outage. The FAA also said it found no evidence of a cyberattack and that it's "working diligently to further pinpoint the causes of this issue and take all needed steps to prevent this kind of disruption from happening again."

Although the FAA resumed normal air traffic operations just before 6 a.m. PT, thousands of flights were already delayed by then and threw off the normal day's schedule as airlines tried to play catchup. 

As of 5:30 p.m. PT, more than 9,971 flights in or into the US were delayed and over 2,844 canceled, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware

"Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the U.S. following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted," the FAA said in a tweet at 5:50 a.m. PT Wednesday. 

Airports across the country are urging people to check their flight status.