The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in its preliminary report has revealed that the contractors working on the system that alerts pilots of a potential danger had “unintentionally” deleted some files, prompting the entire mechanism to break down on January 11 which affected more than 11,000 flights.
The regulator further said that the staff were trying “to correct synchronisation between the live primary database and a backup database” when some of the files got accidentally deleted.
They reiterated that they found no “evidence of cyberattack malicious intent” and that they are still probing the exact cause.
“A preliminary FAA review of last week’s outage of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system determined that contract personnel unintentionally deleted files while working to correct synchronization between the live primary database and a backup database,” the FAA said on Thursday.
The airline agency said it has made necessary repairs to the system “and has taken steps to make the pilot message system “more resilient.”
US flights resume after FAA system outage, over 4300 flights delayed
The FAA last week said that the nationwide NOTAM– provides pilots, flight crews and other users of US airspace with critical safety notices– outage was caused by a procedural error related to a corrupted data file.
The response comes in the wake of demand from over 120 lawmakers who sought an explanation on how to prevent future accidents saying that the computer outage was “completely unacceptable”.
On the upcoming Friday, the FAA is expected to brief the lawmakers about the whole incident.
Meanwhile, airline executives have complained of staffing issues and inadequate funding of the FAA, calling on the government to “need to do better”.
“I lay this on the fact that we are not giving them the resources, the funding, the staffing, the tools, the technology they need,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said on “Squawk Box” last week, according to CNBC.
“Hopefully this will be the call to our political leaders in Washington that we need to do better.”
(With inputs from agencies)