Right now you’re taking a look at Reagan airport in Washington very quiet right now with all of those domestic flights paused until at least 9 A.M Eastern just a short time ago Transportation secretary Pete butterjudge tweeted I have been in touch with FAA this morning about an outage affecting a key system for providing safety information to.
Pilots FAA is working to resolve this issue swiftly and safely so that air traffic can resume normal operations and will continue to provide updates the full extent of the impact is not entirely clear right now but we should note it’s pretty clear that Travelers are going to be dealing with flight troubles until this is fixed let’s check.
In with our Aviation expert NBC’s Tom Costello who has got the very latest Tom what are you learning what can you tell us right now we got about 1200 flight delays at the moment Nationwide that’s within the United States and we’re looking at about 100 maybe 110 cancellations at the moment and to update the audience once again this is.
The nodum computer listen the old timers will remember The Schuster stamp were noticed to Airmen it’s now called notice of air missions essentially this is the computer that tells the pilots be aware we have got a Runway closed at this airport and you’ve got potential conflict with military airspace on this air on this particular area and.
Construction equipment at this airport so this is a critical information that every pilot gets on their iPad and they may also actually get reams of paper printed out before they leave the the office at the airport with a whole bunch of information that they need not just for the airport they’re flying into but also the departure airport and an.
Alternative airport in the event that they have problems so this is a lot of information and critical as it’s run by air traffic control I’ve talked to multiple Pilots now and in the 18 years I’ve covered Aviation for NBC news I’ve never heard of this system going down and the pilots I’ve talked two one of whom has been a pilot for 53 years says.
He’s never heard of the system going down so this is a big concern the update is that the FAA is now asking actually ordering all airlines not to depart until at least at least nine o’clock Eastern time as they try to test the system in their words revalidate the system make sure it’s operating properly as they try to bring it up online.
They’re in the process of rebooting it testing it validating it and as a result you’ve got very very little air traffic right now certainly with Airlines across the United States keeping in mind you could have private Pilots that are flying across the country but you are not right now having major airlines flying and so that’s going to certainly.
Cause major disruptions and ripple effects across the country if there’s good news and and you have to look for kernels of it it’s that this is uh really the lowest period of flying uh in the year right we’re done with the holidays we haven’t hit Spring Break take typically January and February are pretty slow months for air travel but it.
Does come just about 10 days after we had the entire ATC system the in-route computer system in Florida go down back on January 2nd when everybody was coming back from the holidays and in Florida that system went down and it delayed flights kept them on the on the tarmac and on the runway for the better part of two to three hours so the FAA clearly.
Has some work to do here to find out what are these two problems in any way connected or are these just two isolated instances and what the heck has happened and I think you’ve also got to look at whether cyber security played a role in this we simply don’t know right now so Tom how are Travelers dealing with the flight troubles.
Well listen they can’t go anywhere so they’re unless you’re inbound already and we did talk to several international airports Amsterdam and germ Frankfurt Germany and London Gatwick their flights did depart on time and are in route to the United States so if you’re inbound you should be okay you’re still going to land on time we’re really talking about.
Outbound departing domestic flights in the United States and since this started just after six o’clock or so this morning uh that’s really when things start kicking off you know when it gets busy at airports there isn’t much happening right now so that means that people are really just kind of stuck in the airport waiting to find out when.
Their flight may go if at all and Tom I imagine there are people who know someone who’s in the air was already flying when this whole system went down who might be worried right now I mean based on what you’re hearing or learning is there any reason to worry for those flights that were already in the air that need to land no I don’t think so uh.
You know if you’re an inbound flight and you’re coming into if you’re coming in from an international destination on your inbound they’re in constant radio and commuter computer communication with the air traffic control systems and for those few I think we’re really talking about the you know the very few red eyes coming across country at in the middle.
Of the morning early morning uh they’re also in touch with air traffic control this is really about trying to reduce right now reduce the volume of traffic in the Skies over the country as they now try to get this computer system a critical computer system back up and running Tom Costello we’re grateful to have you thanks so much for that update.
We’ll continue to provide updates here on news now throughout the morning you bet thanks for watching our YouTube channel follow today’s top stories and breaking news by downloading the NBC News app