Flights gradually resume at Orlando International Airport following FAA system outage

Flights are gradually resuming at Orlando International Airport after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted the nationwide ground stop due to a system failure.  

The FAA said in its latest update that "normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the United States following an overnight outage to the FAA’s Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system that provides safety information to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted."

"The agency continues to look into the cause of the initial problem."

The Orlando International Airport is advising passengers to check with their airlines for travel updates. The Greater Aviation Authority released the following statement after the ground stop was lifted: 

"Orlando International Airport (MCO) was directly impacted, along with every other airport in the country, by the nationwide Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) notice to stop all flights in the United States due to an FAA computer issue. As service slowly resumes, MCO advises travelers to contact their airlines directly for information about their specific flights. During the FAA outage, approximately 52 flights have been delayed for departure at Orlando International."

By 3:00 pm today, data system Flightaware tracked more than 7,000 flight delays to, from, or within the U.S. and over 1,100 flight cancelations. It tracked 415 flight delays at OIA and 25 cancelations.

The FAA says it worked through a system reload to resume operations, but it's still not clear what caused the issue. 

The White House Secretary tweeted that there is no evidence of a cyber-attack at this point -- but the Biden Administration has asked the U-S Transportation Department and FAA to investigate. 

"This was an inwardly focused system. There are walls around it to protect it, but any system is vulnerable at any given time," said Dr. Jacobson, "Just seems to be a system failure whether hardware or software - we don't know yet." 

This is the second time in the last month that flights in Florida have been impacted by an FAA system issue. 

Back on January 2nd - the FAA slowed the traffic volume into Florida's airspace because of an air traffic computer issue. That time it was the E-RAM system -- which air traffic controllers use to handle enroute traffic. 

It's also not clear what caused that issue. 

We spoke with one captain who is concerned we could see more impacts to travel the more we rely solely on computers and don't have proper backup measures. 

"We have this idea that computers can do everything and they really can't," said Captain Shem Malmquist, "We've designed it to be so dependent. Don't have any good alternatives when it stops working." 

Frustrated passengers across the country tweeted on Wednesday that their flights had been grounded. 

"Flights delayed leaving Tampa International this morning due to #FAA computer glitch per @SouthwestAir." – @beavis38ghz

"Communication Systems are down US wide for the FAA? What in the world #FAA." – @GhoulyJules

If you are headed to the Orlando International Airport, be sure to check your flight status to see if it is on time or delayed due to the outage.