U.S. Flights Were Grounded Because Of One Man’s Mistake, Official Says

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: The arrivals board shows cancelled flights at the Southwest Airlines Baggage Claim at Midway Airport on December 27, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. A snowstorm and severe cold front that hit Chicago before the holiday weekend stranded many travelers and their luggage. Southwest Airlines has canceled approximately 5,400 flights in less than 48 hours due to a variety of issues including this year’s historic winter storm and scheduling complications involving crew members. On Monday, Southwest had 10 times more flights canceled than Delta Airlines, which had the second most cancellations nationwide this holiday season. (Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

At a glance

  • An engineer “replaced one file with another” during a routine scheduled systems maintenance effort on Wednesday morning, the official said, adding that the engineer was unaware of the mistake.
  • The FAA official also noted that Canada’s NOTAM system was disrupted Wednesday, although it remains unclear as to whether the problem was linked to the American failure.
  • Canada was not forced to ground its flights and the official said Canada’s system is more modern.

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