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Major ATC Computer Outage Resulting in Delayed Flights - (11/19/2009)

CONTACT: Alex Caldwell, 202-220-9813; 202-997-7741 (cell)

WASHINGTON – There has been a major, nationwide air traffic control computer system outage this morning, and it is having a severe, negative impact on air travel across the country. Here is what we know thus far:

- The NADIN system (National Airspace Data Interchange Network), which is the computerized system for processing flight plans and information for every flight in the country, has failed in both of its locations – Atlanta and Salt Lake City. We do not yet know the technical reason for the failure. We have some reports that the system is coming back online, which is good news, but there will be flight delays throughout the day due to the “ripple effect” of this outage.

- The NADIN failure has created a domino effect of problems throughout the country, starting with the inability of FAA automated ATC systems at major regional facilities to process flight information, forcing the manual input of information by air traffic personnel. Air traffic controllers are without electronic decision-making tools and cannot keep up with the sheer numbers of flights -- resulting in delays.

- Weather equipment is affected. NOTAM alerts (Notice to Airmen) are not processing either. Information like wind speeds at airports are not processing.

- Air traffic controllers on the ground at major airports are getting no automated flight plan information and have to enter that information manually, a cumbersome and time-consuming process.

- Airport efficiency is being cut by at least half at places like New York-JFK.

- In the New York airspace, controllers are forced to put 20 miles of space between aircraft.

- It will take many hours for the system to catch up.

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