Politics & Government

A week from Thanksgiving, computer glitch delays flights

A computer glitch that caused flight delays nationwide on Thursday was fixed by mid-morning.

Only minimal problems were noticed Thursday morning at D/FW Airport, although airport officials said they were preparing for possible delays later in the day because of the computer problem.

The Federal Aviation Administration system announced around noon that the system was back up and that airlines were now able to file flight plans electronically.

The glitch affected a system used by the FAA to collect airlines' flight plans. It was the second time in 15 months that a problem in the flight plan system caused delays.

"There is no indication the outage occured as a result of a cyber attack," the FAA said in a statement. "System wide delays and cancellations will continue to be assessed throughout the day."

The equipment outage, which happened shortly after 4 a.m. CST, brought the flight plan system down for a couple of hours, but FAA computer systems were starting to come back online around 8 a.m. CST, said FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

"It looks like things are starting to get back to normal," Lunsford said, adding that the computer glitch cause air traffic controllers to have to manually input flight plans. "There was never really a problem with radar coverage."

American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said the Fort Worth-based carrier has not canceled any flights due to the computer glitch. While the airline usually submits flight plans electronically, this morning they were faxing flight plans to the FAA, causing slight delays.

"We actually had flights that left early this morning out of D/FW," Huguely said. "The longest delay was about 40 minutes."

The problems first seemed to have been noticed at Atlanta's William B. Hartsfield International Airport, the nation's busiest airport.

D/FW Airport spokesman David Magaña said the impact on D/FW has been minimal this morning. "We do have obviously some arrivals from Atlanta and the New York area that have been immediately impacted," Magaña said. "However, most of the flights here at D/FW went out this morning."

He added that the airlines are preparing to deal with this problem throughout the day and, if it persists, there will be significant delays in the afternoon.

The FAA urged travelers to check with their airlines to learn of any problems with individual flights.

For information on which airports are affected, visit http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp