Thu, 30 Nov 2023

WASHINGTON D.C.: In a letter to lawmakers last week, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it had put in place new measures to prevent a repeat of a computer system issue on 11th January that disrupted more than 11,000 flights in the US.

In the letter, seen by Reuters, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said that the agency has made a change in the system to prevent corrupt files from damaging a backup database.

The FAA told lawmakers last week that it removed access of contractor personnel to a pilot messaging database, after they unintentionally deleted files in the Notice to Air Missions database (NOTAM).

This system provides critical safety notices to pilots, flight crews and other users of US airspace.

Attempts to restore the files caused the outage, so the FAA then adopted a one-hour delay in synchronizing databases, which will prevent data errors from immediately reaching the backup database, the note added.

The FAA also said that it "now requires at least two individuals to be present during the maintenance of the NOTAM system, including one federal manager."

The letter stated that the FAA began modernizing the NOTAM system in 2019 "and is scheduled to discontinue the legacy US NOTAM System by mid-2025. Phase two of the NOTAM system modernization is planned to be completed in 2030."

The FAA said that since 2020, it has conducted three assessments of the system, with the most recent being in October.

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