Dozens of SLC flights delayed or canceled after FAA computer outage

Jan 11, 2023, 6:30 AM | Updated: 1:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded all U.S. departures Wednesday morning, leading to dozens of delays and a few cancellations at the Salt Lake City International Airport.

As of 1 p.m., over 8,500 flights within, into or out of the United States have been delayed, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

Over 1,200 flights have been canceled nationwide. At SLC, over 140 flights were delayed and 11 were canceled Wednesday morning.

The FAA said it was working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System, which “alerts pilots about closed runways, equipment outages, and other potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the flight.”

All aircraft are required to route through the system, including commercial and military flights.

The FAA ordered a pause for all departures Wednesday morning, and that ground stop was lifted at 7 a.m. MT Wednesday.

“We’re just kind of in a holding pattern waiting,” said some passengers trying to fly out of SLC to Colorado. 

These passengers were among the 15 flights out of SLC that were scheduled to go out between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. but got delayed because of the FAA’s computer outage. 

“It’s a domino effect,” said Nancy Volmer, Salt Lake City International Airport spokesperson. 

Volmer said there five flights that were already in the air arrived as scheduled despite Wednesday’s outage. Others were not so lucky. 

“It has impacted the flight schedule, as far as there are other flights that have been delayed. We’re seeing about 64 right now that have been delayed, and we have seen about eight cancellations,” she said.

The outage did not impact every flight. In fact, the majority of passengers KSL TV spoke with at the SLC airport Wednesday morning said say they were still on time.

While the FAA said it was continuing to investigate the cause of the initial problem, at last check, the White House said there is no evidence of a cyberattack. 

“The NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions system) is very important for pilots. They do have safety information that has communicated to them if there’s something unusual at the airport or their flight, and so it’s important that system is working and functioning for the safety of passengers,” Volmer said.

Passengers, while interrupted, seemed to be understanding.

“I mean, it is what it is. You want safety rules, especially in light of everything that goes on.” 

According to the White House, the president has directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a full investigation into what exactly happened.

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Dozens of SLC flights delayed or canceled after FAA computer outage