A computer problem with the FAA automated flight planning system in Atlanta caused major delays at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest, this morning as well as other airports up and down the East Coast of the US. The computer problem started at about 0500 EST and ended at about 1000 EST. Delays are expected to continue through the rest of today, which were already climbing because of bad weather in the US.
A similar problem happened a year ago August. At that time, the FAA promised that it was working to make sure it never would happen again, just as they promised in 2007.
This article from July in eWeek says that the FAA was transitioning then to a new flight planning system that was supposed to end these types of outages and implied that the transition was almost complete. It is unclear, however, whether this latest problem was in this new system or not.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.