FAA suspends all domestic flights on Wednesday, impacting air travel across the United States

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The FAA took the extreme step early Wednesday morning of grounding all departing flights from all airlines across the country.

The FAA said a critical system that provides pre-flight information to pilots has failed, forcing them to halt all domestic flights. The decision impacted travelers across the country.

“We were freaking out, we were sitting in our Airbnb and we were worried because we have work tomorrow, I have to go back to college,” said Samantha Belleair, whose flight from Tampa International Airport was among thousands of affected flights.

Stephanie Crews and a colleague flew to Tampa from Washington DC, but not before their flight was delayed for several hours.

“I mean they did everything they could at the ground station. They made it very clear that all airlines should be blocked by this, but it’s kind of scary to think that a communications system like this could go down,” Crews said.

The FAA said it does not appear the system outage was caused by an outside cyberattack.

Retired airline pilot and safety expert John Cox said it would now be up to the FAA to determine exactly what was wrong.

“They will look at the architecture of the software. They will look at the servers, the hardware itself and they will look at whether it needs to be upgraded, it has been over the years, but does it need to be advanced,” Cox said.

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