FAA identifies company responsible for system outage

The FAA has publicly named the contracting company whose employees it believes unintentionally deleted files that led to the Notice to Air Missions (Notam) system outage on Jan. 11.

The outage compelled the agency to implement the first ground stop since 9/11.

The agency informed Congress that the contractor that services the Notam system is Virgina-based Spatial Front.

“All personnel from Spatial Front directly involved in the deletion have lost access to FAA buildings and systems while we complete our investigation,” the FAA said. 

The agency had previously stated that a preliminary review led to the determination that the outage occurred after contracted workers unintentionally deleted Notam files while working to correct synchronization between the live primary database and a backup database. 

The FAA says it has found no evidence of a cyberattack or malicious intent related to the outage.

The Jan. 11 ground stoppage was over by 9 a.m. Eastern time, but it contributed to more than 2,800 flight cancellations and more than 10,000 delays of flights to, from and within the U.S. that day.

Last week, the House nearly unanimously passed a bill directing the FAA to establish a task force to review the Notam system and provide recommendations for improving the system.

The FAA said that it is using Virginia-based contractor Concept Solutions to modernize the Notam system. 

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