Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration have slammed blame for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) NOTAM system crash that resulted in the forcible grounding of all domestic airplane departures last Wednesday morning to a single engineer, explained a recently published report.
One Senior official with the FAA explained this past Thursday to ABC News that systems monitoring of the NOTAM system had been raised to a very high level in the wake of the Wednesday disaster.
One engineer “replaced one file with another” as part of a scheduled routine systems maintenance effort being carried out this past Wednesday morning, explained the official, going further to state that the engineer was entirely unaware the mistake had taken place.
The FAA official explained that the NOTAM system for Canada was also disrupted on Wednesday, but it is still entirely unclear if the issues experienced there were linked in any way to the failure which happened in America. Canada, however, was not forced to ground all of its flights and one official stated that the system for Canada was much more modern.
The delays for flights sparked by the failure of the NOTAM system this past Wednesday ended up lasting into Thursday morning. Well over 600 total flights out of, into, or within the U.S. ended up being delayed and just over 80 ended up being canceled by Thursday morning, explained the Wall Street Journal.
OPSGROUP, an industry collective, has been openly critical of the NOTAMS for quite some time. “We communicate the most critical flight information, using a system invented in 1920, with a format unchanged since 1924, burying essential information that will lose a pilot their job, an airline their aircraft, and passengers their lives, in a mountain of unreadable, irrelevant bulls***,” explained a blog post from the group dated back to 2017.
Officials for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which was originally directed and funded by a group of 193 national governments to reinforce their cooperation and diplomacy in air transport, highlighted that a large amount of warning and coordination that is necessary to allow air traffic flow to operate smoothly in the year 2021.
“On any given day, there are some 35,000 active NOTAM circulating in the global air transport system. In 2020, the total number of NOTAM issued exceeded 1.7 million. … It is not uncommon for a pre-flight briefing package supporting a long-haul international flight to contain more than 100 pages of NOTAM information. Findings have shown that twenty percent of these will be old NOTAM, exceeding their three-month applicability period,” expressed a note from the group.