A computer glitch in the US has grounded thousands of flights across the country and is expected to have a knock-on effect on international travel.
AP reported that 1,840 international flight arrivals had been anticipated as well as 21,000 scheduled domestic departures.
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered all US flights to delay departures until 9am Eastern, or 3pm (Central European Time). It lifted the grounding order shortly before the deadline with more than 3,700 flights stuck on the tarmac. A further 550 flights have been cancelled as a result of the malfunction, which lasted more than 12 hours.
While the White House initially said that there is no evidence of a cyberattack, President Joe Biden said “we don’t know” and told reporters he’s directed the Department of Transportation to investigate the cause of the disruption.
President Joe Biden addressed the FAA issue Wednesday before leaving the White House to accompany his wife to a medical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside of Washington. He said he had just been briefed by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who told him they still had not identified what went wrong.
“I just spoke to Buttigieg. They don’t know what the cause is. But I was on the phone with him about 10 minutes," Biden said. "I told him to report directly to me when they find out. Air traffic can still land safely, just not take off right now. We don’t know what the cause of it is.”
Buttigieg said in a tweet that he is in touch with the FAA and monitoring the situation.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
Most delays were concentrated along the East Coast, but were beginning to spread west. Inbound international flights into Miami International Airport continued to land, but all departures have been delayed since 6:30 a.m., said airport spokesman Greg Chin.
The FAA said it was working on restoring its Notice to Air Missions System.