Software upgrade could be cause of US airline disruption

The Federal Aviation Administration has zeroed in on a recent upgrade at a radar facility

A computer glitch that disrupted airline traffic in some parts of the U.S. over the weekend was possibly the result of a software upgrade, the Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday.

The agency, which had earlier described a problem in its "automation system" as the cause of the disruption, said the problem could be possibly traced to a recent software upgrade at a high-altitude radar facility in Leesburg, Virginia.

The upgrade was designed to provide additional tools for controllers, the agency said. While the FAA and its system contractor complete their assessment, the new features have been disabled.

The agency said that there was no indication that the disruption was related to any inherent problems with the En Route Automation Modernization system, which it claims has had a greater than 99.99 availability rate since it was completed nationwide earlier this year. ERAM replaced the 40-year-old En Route Host computer and backup system used at 20 FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers nationwide.

FAA said that the automation problem had led to delays and cancellations at airports in the Washington, D.C., area on Saturday, with preliminary information indicating 492 related delays and 476 cancellations.

The FAA brought down the arrival and departure rates in the area from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for safety reasons. That move resulted in about 70 percent of the average normal Saturday traffic at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, 72 percent at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and 88 percent at Washington Dulles International Airport.

FAA said traffic had operated smoothly on Sunday. It said on Saturday it was continuing a "root cause analysis" to determine the cause of the problem and is working closely with the airlines to minimize the impact on travelers.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags softwareindustry verticalstransportationFederal Aviation Administration

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?