A human error was responsible for the computer failure that forced the suspension of thousands of flights in the US

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A preliminary report showed that a subcontractor had inadvertently deleted files while working on synchronization between the main and standby databases

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Human error was responsible for the computer failure that forced the suspension of thousands of flights in the US

A human error was responsible for the computer failure that forced the suspension of thousands of flights in the US. (AP)

The computer glitch that forced the US civil aviation regulator (FAA) to temporarily suspend domestic flights< /b>in the United States on January 11 was due to a contractor deleting files by mistake, the FAA said Thursday.

The agency had previously attributed the failure, which led to thousands of cancellations and delays that date, to damage to a database file.

A preliminary report showed that a subcontractor had “inadvertently deleted files while working on the synchronization between the main and backup databases,” the agency explained Thursday.

The investigation is ongoing, but the FAA said it has not yet found any evidence linking the incident to malicious intent or a cyberattack.< /p>

The FAA is taking steps to make the information system, designed to alert aircrews in real time of potential hazards on the ground or in the sky, “more resilient.”

US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigiegindicated on January 11 that it had asked the FAA to determine the causes of the problem and explain why the systems that were supposed to take over in case of problems had not worked.

More than 3,700 flights were delayed and more than 640 were cancelled.

Human error was responsible for the computer failure that forced the suspension of thousands of flights in the US

The US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, indicated on January 11 that he had asked the FAA to determine the causes of the problem and explain why the systems that had to take over in case of problems had not worked. (REUTERS)

The FAA suspension order affected nearly all commercial airline and shipper flights.

More than21,000 flights were scheduled to take off that day in the US, mostly domestic travel, and some 1,840 international flights were scheduled to fly into the US, according to aviation data company Cirium.

The delays were due to a failure of what is known as the Notification of Air Missions System (NOTAM).

NOTAMs used to be available through a telephone hotline, but this was phased out with the Internet. Alerts range from mundane information about airport construction to urgent flight restrictions or downed equipment.

Service disruption can cause widespread disruption. All aircraft must pass through the system, including commercial and military flights.

Some medical flights were able to obtain clearance and the disruption did not affect any military operations or mobility.

The flights of the US Army's Air Mobility Command were not seen affected, said Air Force Col. Damien Pickart.

Breakdowns in the NOTAM system appear to be infrequent.< /p>

Human error was responsible for the computer failure that forced the suspension of thousands of flights in the US

The delays were due to a failure of what is known as the Notification of Air Missions System (NOTAM, for its acronym in English). (REUTERS)

“I don't recall the NOTAM system ever failing like this. I've been flying for 53 years,” saidJohn Cox, former airline pilot and now aviation safety consultant.

According to FAA advisories, the NOTAM system failed at 8:28 p.m. preventing new or changed notices from being distributed to pilots. The FAA called in an emergency phone line in an effort to maintain departures overnight, but as daytime traffic increased, the backup phone system was overwhelmed.

( With information from AFP and The Associated Press)

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