Passengers share outrage as departures grounded amid FAA chaos

Passengers took to social media to share their frustration at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after it grounded all departures as it worked to fix its system used to send information to pilots.

President Joe Biden told the press on Wednesday morning that he had spoken to Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the chaos.

“They don’t know what the cause is,” Mr Biden said of the FAA. “Aircraft can still land safely, just not take off right now. They don’t know what the cause of it is, they expect in a couple of hours they’ll have a good sense of what caused it and will respond at that time.”

“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,” Mr Buttgieg tweeted on Wednesday.

At 8.50am, the FAA tweeted that “normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the US following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted. We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem”.

From an Albuquerque airport, passenger Carl Kincaid tweeted that a gate agent used a fax machine to receive the news of the computer outage.

“Also stuck at ABQ in this #FAA mess, waiting on my same flight, is @UNMLOBOS Cheer and Dance squads trying to get to a competition in Orlando. While they’re holding up well I’d have to say that they currently don’t have spirit. No they don’t. Good luck in Orlando!” he added later.

Shortly before 8am on Wednesday, Thomas Martin tweeted that “our @JetBlue pilot just announced another update will be coming from FAA at 8am about whether we can take off at 9am. JFK JetBlue domestic flight. Plane is 80% empty as presumably many people bailed when they saw the news”.

“Was flying #ROC to #ATL this morning until the @FAANews experienced a system failure. Haven’t seen a ground stop like this since 9-11-01,” Joseph Cicero said.

At John F Kennedy Aiport in New York, Mayra Amaya tweeted after 8am, “we’ll see how long it takes for the airport to get nuts. Thus far…I feel like everyone is kinda unbothered about the news. Weird. It’s NYC. where’s the mob at?”

“I suppose that’s what happens when all the airlines install bars at every terminal…everyone’s too sauced to get mad,” she added.

“Gee I sure hope the day I wake up at 4 am to go to the airport isn’t the day the FAA’s critical Notice to Air Missions system experiences a historic outage. Now to sit down at my gate and read the news,” Wes Fenlon tweeted.

Donald Trump Jr took to Twitter to go after Mr Buttigieg, writing that the outage was “yet another major blow to incompetent Transportation Sect Mayor Pete and people who get important jobs with no experience to check some identity politics boxes”.

Ahead of the ground stop being lifted by the FAA, passengers at Newark airport in New Jersey were waiting for answers while staff appeared to be similarly confused about what was going on.

An American Airlines staffer used the intercom to say that a “system outage” was to blame for the delays but didn’t share any other information, according to The New York Times.

“They have emphasized that they have all of the same information that we do,” Sara Hole, 23, told the paper.

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