DOT Secretary Buttigieg wants more resources for FAA computer systems

Current US DOT Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will ask Congress for more resources for the FAA
Gregory Reed /

After the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) computer systems experienced an outage, causing a system-wide stoppage in the United States (US), lawmakers are looking to gain more resources to upgrade those systems. 

In an interview with Reuters, the US Department Of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that lawmakers in the country need to move faster in allocating resources and upgrading the FAA’s computer systems. The Transportation Secretary outlined plans to ask Congress for “the resources needed to accelerate these system changes”. 

“The broader context is aging systems and growing demand. I don’t want this to be ‘whack-a-mole’ where we figured out one flavor of problem on one system only to face another one later on,” Buttigieg continued. 

The NOTAM system outage occurred in the early hours of January 11, 2023, with flight operations in the US resuming several hours later. 

A NOTAM provides essential information to pilots, flight dispatchers and planners, about any changes to the National Air System (NAS) in the US, for example. International NOTAMs can also be in place, prohibiting US-based carriers to operate flights using a certain country’s air space. 

Following an investigation into the outage, the FAA discovered that contractor personnel unintentionally deleted files while trying to correct synchronization between the live database and a backup database. As a result, personnel from the contractor, Spatial Front, lost access to the agency’s buildings and systems. 

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