August 26, 2008, 8:24 PM — Problems with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's traffic management computer system caused flight delays at U.S. airports Tuesday afternoon.
Delays were largely centered around airports in the northeastern U.S. as well as Atlanta. Outgoing flights to Atlanta from several airports were halted as of 4 p.m. EDT and were not expected to resume until after 5:30 p.m., according to the FAA's Web site. Outgoing flights at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Baltimore-Washington airports were delayed for more than an hour, and flights at other airports, including Boston's Logan International Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport, were delayed for shorter times.
In addition, New York-area airports were experiencing delays. La Guardia Airport was experiencing delays of more than 40 minutes due to weather conditions, and some flights arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport were delayed by more than an hour, apparently because of the computer problems elsewhere.
An FAA spokeswoman wasn't immediately available for comment on the nature of the computer problems and the number of airports affected. CNN.com was reporting that all major U.S. airports are affected by the computer problem at a facility near Atlanta. Problems processing data there meant that flight-plan information had to be routed through another facility in Salt Lake City. Those two sites handle all flight plans for commercial and general flights in the U.S., CNN quoted an FAA spokeswoman as saying.
Although CNN had reported that the number of affected airports was on the FAA site Tuesday afternoon, those details were later removed. The site was apparently overloaded late Tuesday afternoon on the East Coast.
The problem was not affecting radar systems and the FAA had not lost contact with any airplanes, according to a number of news reports. Travelers are being advised to check with their airlines regarding delays.