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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Alan Levin

FAA adds safeguards to US flight system to prevent new outages

The U.S. government has added new protections to the aviation notice system that led to thousands of disruptions earlier this month in an attempt to prevent such failures in the future, the Federal Aviation Administration told lawmakers.

A federal manager must now be present anytime a contractor works with the software system and any changes to the data will be held back an hour before going into the backup systems, the FAA said in a letter to House lawmakers dated Friday and released by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Monday.

“This action will prevent data errors from immediately reaching that backup database,” the FAA said in the letter.

The Notice to Air Missions, or Notam, system failed on Jan. 11, forcing thousands of flight delays and cancellations, after unidentified employees of a federal contractor accidentally deleted a data file, the FAA has said. The agency was forced to halt all departures for more than 90 minutes because pilots are required to check the latest safety notices before departing.

The employees of the contractor, Spatial Front Inc., have been barred from working on the system, the FAA told lawmakers last week.

The letter was earlier reported by Reuters.

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