UAE-US flights operating as normal after FAA system outage

Thousands of flights across the United States were grounded as authorities scrambled to fix a computer problem

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Flights from the UAE to the US are operating as normal despite hundreds of planes being grounded at airports across the US following a technical error.

A computer power outage to the Federal Aviation Administration Notice to Air Missions system, which provides safety information to flight crews, in the early hours of Wednesday morning halted flights across the country.

The authority issued a ground stop preventing flights from departing, leading to hundreds of delays and cancellations at several airports.

Flights from the UAE to the US were not impacted by the disruption.

Emirates said that the system outage did not impact flights from Dubai to its hubs in the US. The airline operates to 11 destinations across the country, including New York, Miami, Chicago and Washington, DC.

"There was no impact to our operations" a spokesperson for the airline told The National.

Etihad Airways also confirmed that UAE flights were not impacted by the ground stop. The national airline of the UAE operates to Chicago, New York and Washington.

A traveller looks at a flight board with delays and cancellations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington. Thousands of travellers were stranded at US airports after an hours-long computer outage. AP Photo

“Etihad Airways is aware of a technical issue affecting all airline flights in North America. At present, this is not having an impact on our operation, and our flights to US destinations currently in the air and preparing to depart this evening are operating as normal,” a representative for the airline said on Wednesday.

“We will closely monitor the situation and alert our customers should the position change."

Departures in the US resumed initially at Newark Liberty airport in New York and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Chicago due to air traffic congestion in those areas.

All other outgoing flights across the US began to resume again gradually from about 9am on Wednesday morning, easing disruption for travellers.

The FAA has traced the disruption to a damaged database file.

"At this time, there is no evidence of a cyber attack." FAA confirmed on Wednesday evening.

It’s not the first time in the past month that a technology problem has caused mass flight disruption. British Airways faced technical issues in December that grounded flights in the US and London.

In the Philippines, too, tens of thousands of passengers were affected by flight delays, cancellations and diversions in and out of Manila after an air traffic control system malfunction caused travel chaos across the country on New Year's Day.

Updated: January 12, 2023, 5:43 AM